Natchez, Mississippi, is the jewel of the antebellum South, a city of old money and older sins, where passion, power, and racial tensions seethe beneath its elegant façade. After 20 years away, Penn is stunned to find his own family trapped in a web on intrigue and danger.
Determined to save his father from a ruthless blackmailer, Penn stumbles over a link to the town's darkest secret: the 30-year-old unsolved murder of a black Korean War veteran. But what drives him to act is the revelation that this haunting mystery is inextricably bound up in his own past. Under a blaze of national media attention, Penn reopens the case, only to find local records destroyed, the FBI file sealed, and the town closing ranks against him.
Penn joins forces with Caitlin Masters, a beautiful young newspaper publisher, on a quest that will lead from the bayous of the South to the highest reaches of the U.S. government. His need to right a terrible wrong pits him against the FBI, the powerful judge who nearly destoyed his family, and his most dangerous adversary: a woman he loved more than 20 years before, and who haunts him still. His crusade for justice will ultimately lead him into a packed Mississippi courtroom, where he fights a battle that could end a decades-old silence and force the truth to be spoken at last.
©2000 Greg Illes; (P)2006 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
This review applies to the audible versions of both The Quiet Game and Turning Angel, the first two Penn Cage novels. Greg Iles is a talented author, no doubt about that. He draws you in and it's a "can't put it down" kind of ride. However, I find some of the graphic crude sex and disturbing scenes totally unnecessary, and at times abhorrent. Dick Hill is one of the best narrators out there, but he should research the pronunciations of the locale of a book. I've lived in Mississippi 50+ years and never heard any locals pronouncing Natchez the way he does. That's central to the book, and it grated on my nerves every time he said it. [We Southerners rarely put the emphasis on the last syllable. We do not say "NatCHEZ", but "NATchez", rhyming with matches.] There were other words like this...Biloxi, kudzu, pecan. And he gave a Cajun sort of pronunciation to Baton Rouge. That would be more appropriate in a southern Louisiana setting. I do not like it when Southern writers sell books by perpetuating the negative stereotypes of the South, but I'm simply confused at times by the racial content of these books. All that being said, I probably would enjoy these books more in the printed form....where my ears would not be annoyed, and I could skim more easily past some of the more offensive descriptions.
Reader, Listener, Optimist
The author, Greg Iles, is a novelist who conveys the nuances of life in the deep South with the insight that only a native can.
Dick Hill is on my short list of favorite audiobook narrators and to my ear, he is the true voice of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. However, he is not the right choice to perform the accent of any character from a setting in the modern South. He uses bits and pieces of southern caricature snipped from Amos and Andy meets Gone With the Wind to produce his interpretation of contemporary life in the American South. These voices do not approach an accurate representation of what the well educated professional people in Greg Iles' stories should sound like. Rather, the accents are a mixture of antebellum field hands mixed with gangsta rap. Examples: "Wut fo" (What for?) and "Close da do" (Close the door).
Equally unfortunate is his lack of knowledge of the correct pronunciation of place names: Natchez, Baton Rouge, Biloxi are examples. It is almost as if someone played a cruel joke on Hill by misdirecting him to repeatedly pronounce them in the most hysterical way possible.
The credibility of an otherwise excellent reader is undermined by his lack of knowledge of the subject he has been asked to convey.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
I have an old pre-Audible unabridged audiotape version of The Quiet Game narrated by Tom Stechshulte but decided to listen to the book again in abridged version because I strongly prefer Dick Hill as narrator. I much prefer the unabridged version of this novel, but I strongly prefer Dick Hill as narrator over Stechshulte. (This novel was released in 1999.)
I like Greg Isles as an author, but one of my complaints with his audiobooks is that narrators are often changed. The audiobooks would be even better if a narrator with a southern accent like Will Patton were used for all of his books.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 14-year-old daughter.
I wanted to start listening to the Penn Cage series and author Greg Iles suggests you start with the first. Unfortunately Audible does not carry the unabridged version. If it did I suspect that I would have awarded 5 stars. Listening to the abridged version I kept on wondering what I was missing. Most listeners should probably like how this novel turns out. The character development was good, even in this abridged version. Penn Cage is a likable protagonist and there are enough villains included to provide balance. And there enough twists and turns to keep the listener guessing. I've downloaded the unabridged version of Iles' Turning Angel and am looking forward to beginning it on my 90-minute commute home this afternoon. And, by the way, Dick Hill continues to be one of my favorite narrators.
Living on the edge of Mississippi, I know and speak Southern. Mr Hill really has a problem with the way that black folks speak today. He must have learned from Roots and Gone With the Wind. Most of my black friends are educated and do not stutter.
Avid audio book listener with over 1600 books in my library!
Greg Iles is truly a talented writer. I have enjoyed all of his books. I am an avid audio book listener and there is no better narrator than Dick Hill. So very glad he did some of Greg's books!! Highly recommended!
Retired tech writer/editor. Mensa. Pgh Steelers/ Penguins fan. Lib Dem/feminist. Grew up reading lit--M.A. English--now read mys/thrillers.
Greg Iles - yes. This is my 3d. Dead Sleep really good; Blood Memory ultimately (WAY toward the end) turned good but main character was incredibly aggravating until a reason for her behavior was finally given. This book had a better story than that but I accidentally bought the abridged version, which was very disappointing--jumpy abridgment. Dick Hill - I prefer to avoid. I recently reviewed a book read by Scott Brick. I've noticed some listeners hate him. I really like him. Well, I'm sure there are a lot of listeners who like Dick Hill. I'm definitely not one of them. He has a smarmy voice that sets my teeth on edge. Additionally, in this one, he had a southern accent for the main character & multiple other characters. Sometimes it was so thick that combined with his unctuous voice it was hard to understand what he was reading. REALLY DISAPPOINTED I GOT THIS ABRIDGED AS I BUY ONLY UNABRIDGED!
This is my third Greg Iles. Dead Sleep really good; Blood Memory ultimately (WAY toward the end) turned good but main character was incredibly aggravating until a reason for her behavior was finally given. This is the third & I think the story was good & would have been a lot better if had I not inadvertently bought an abridged version. Must have been a 2 for 1 sale (bought 2 at once) & I didn't notice. Also, this book started slowly but then got very jumpy (abridgment) in some sections.
Anybody else. I see the unabridged is read by Tom Stechschulte. Whoever he is, WOULD GLADLY HAVE TRADED NARRATORS.
I like Greg Iles books but his main characters fly by the seat of their pants in a way that totally unnerves me. The other two were female main characters. Dead Sleep - woman took some dumb risks but story was great; Blood Memory - woman took RIDICULOUSLY STUPID chances & had other major character flaws--subsequently explained but through a large part of the book I found it virtually impossible to empathize with her (or root for her--characters behaving irrationally, not to say stupidly, lose my sympathy). This book had a male main character who was equally thick about rushing into danger. I like people who look before they leap or at least THINK--A LITTLE. Ex-girlfriend (whose father is mortal enemy) multiple times calls him & he just runs, at her beck & call, oblivious to any possible danger. DUH! Early in the book, I thought he was pretty stupid too for speaking so openly to a reporter and then being surprised a story in the paper where she quoted him & started all the problems; my opinion of her changed, however--she was younger, and I didn't see what she could see in him, especially because she seemed to have be better organized and a more rational decision-maker than he was. (She had her sh*t more together than him - by far.) BTW, what a concept: a corrupt FBI Director. Hmmmm... And we never find out if he ever gets his just desserts.
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