I loved reading mysteries as a kid. I did not read many in high school or college, but a friend re-introduced them to me in grad school. Thanks Deborah! A good mystery, for me, has to have an interesting main character as well as a good plot. Greg Iles is a writer I just started reading and I highly recommend The Quiet Game.
The mystery at the heart of this thriller is the 1968 murder of a black man, Del Payton, in Natchez, Mississippi. Penn Cage, former attorney and now best selling author, inadvertently brings this case to the attention of an attractive newspaper publisher, Caitlin Masters. The resulting uproar in the town leads Penn and Caitlin to further investigate the murder. Various characters emerge to either help solve the case or keep it buried. The town is divided mostly along racial lines, although there are exceptions. Those who were in power 30 years ago are still in town and adamantly against anything being done. Most of the cops who investigated the killing are still alive and so are the FBI agents who were brought in. The action is fast-paced and involves side trips to Texas and Colorado. Greg Iles does a remarkable job showing different sides of Penn, including as a devoted father, widow, and son. A side story that has some implication for the overall plot involves Penn and his father. A complication to the emerging romance between Penn and Caitlin is the presence of his former lover, Livy Marston, and unresolved issues between them. This book is billed as a legal thriller, but very little action takes place in the courtroom.
I have a few quibbles with Iles about the likeliness of some escapes and the timing of some revealed evidence, however, it is overall, an excellent book. It kept me up past 10 pm and it is a rare book that does that these days. I have never been to Natchez, but the descriptive power of Iles allows me to almost think I have. There is a second book with Penn Cage as protagonist (Turning Angel) and two more set in Natchez (Blood Memory, True Evil).