This book is alright, but as a Dismas Hardy book, it falls short. Why? Because Dismas Hardy is absent for the majority of the novel. As much as I like the Hardy series, I felt short changed, as though I was sold a mediocre novel in a Dismas Hardy package: keep listening, Dismas Hardy will make an appearance soon. By the time he did, I had forgotten I was expecting him.
This is perhaps one of Iles best works to date. The novel demonstrates Iles growth as a novelist. With this work, Iles blurs the line between best-selling commercial fiction and serous literature. This bridging of gaps is often present in some of Iles’s other novels but is often slanted more towards the commercial thriller genre. With Natchez Burning, Iles fuses the two producing a novel that can be appreciated literary critics and commercial fiction readers alike.
My main complaint about this audio book is the narration and, to be fair, it is not David Ledoux's fault. Ledoux did a great job; however, Dick Hill’s presence was missed. Listeners of Greg Iles audio books have become accustomed to Hill’s narration. This is especially true of the Penn Cage novels. From The Quiet Game to The Devil’s Punchbowl, Hill has narrated, and his voice has become the voices of the characters. Natchez Burning appears to be the last of Iles novels with Penn Cage as the main protagonist and it was a mistake to switch narrators here at the conclusion. It is like switching the lead actor in the last installment of a major motion picture trilogy. That being said, Ledoux did a good job, but I expect that the performance reviews will be impacted by listeners' disappointment with the substitution
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