cover image Mississippi Blood

Mississippi Blood

Greg Iles. Morrow, $28.99 (704p) ISBN 978-0-06-231115-3

Both unwieldy and tightly controlled, bestseller Iles’s terrific conclusion to his Natchez Burning trilogy (after 2015’s The Bone Tree) is a sweeping story that remains intimate. The Double Eagles, a savage KKK splinter group, have declared a personal war on Penn Cage, a former prosecutor who’s now the mayor of Natchez, Miss., necessitating 24-hour security protection for him and his family. The toxic bigotry escalates as Penn’s father, Tom, once a respected physician, goes on trial for the murder of his former nurse and one-time lover, Viola Turner, an African-American who was suffering from terminal cancer. Penn teams with Serenity Butler, a famous black author who plans to write about Tom’s case. Together, they look into the secrets of the Cage family, the Double Eagles, and the South. Though a side plot about J.F.K.’s assassination stretches credibility, relentless pacing keeps the story churning, with unexpected brutality erupting on nearly every page. The trial scenes are among the most exciting ever written in the genre. Eight-city author tour. Agents: Dan Conaway and Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Mar.)