Book Review: The Bone Tree

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles

From the publisher: (sequel to Natchez Burning)
Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancée, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi’s most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn’t the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.
The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage—who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him—is either to make a devil’s bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles’ downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years . . . a place of terrifying evil known only as “the bone tree.”
The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justice—now finally pushed beyond his limits.
Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?

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I won't get into too much detail about this book, since it's a sequel and I don't want to spoil anything for those who have yet to read Natchez Burning. What I will say is that this is an excellent follow-up to the previous book. Iles doesn't lose momentum with this sequel, and in fact even amps up the suspense at times. 

The two books are very similar, of course in the fact that they continue the previous story line and characters, but also in their style and content. Again, I did feel that there was extraneous detail in this book that could have been pared down a bit in order to shorten it somewhat, but still, all major action was entirely relevant and seemed to make full sense within the world of the story. 

While the sheer amount of characters and subplots was confusing for me at times in Natchez Burning, now that I was more established in the text, I truly enjoyed the chapter-by-chapter switch in perspective. In a book with so many plots all working together at once, this format of writing is almost necessary, and makes me as a reader feel like I'm in five places at once, and able to better comprehend the story. 

These are books that feel startling real, partially because all of the events are based at least somewhat on truth, and also because of the highly captivating nature of the writing. I was easily drawn into the sick, twisted world of Natchez, Mississippi and I felt myself pulled toward the characters and their various plights. I was frustrated time and again when something new went wrong, and held my breath as characters risked their lives. That is the mark of a good book. 

The Bone Tree, like Natchez Burning, I thoroughly recommend, for fans of historical fiction, political intrigue and complex mystery. 

Book links for HarperCollins, GoodreadsAmazon and Barnes & Noble
I received this book for review from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.

Check out the rest of the tour here!

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