As two of the most prominent citizens of Natchez, Drew and Penn sit on the school board of their alma mater, St. Stephen's Prep. When the nude body of a young female student is found near the Mississippi River, the entire community is shocked - but no one more than Penn, who discovers that his best friend was entangled in a passionate relationship with the girl and may be accused of her murder.
On the surface, Kate Townsend seems the most unlikely murder victim imaginable. A star student and athlete, she'd been accepted to Harvard and carried the hope and pride of the town on her shoulders. But like her school and her town, Kate also had a secret life - one about which her adult lover knew little.
When Drew begs Penn to defend him, Penn allows his sense of obligation to override his instinct and agrees. Yet before he can begin, both men are drawn into a dangerous web of blackmail and violence. Penn finds himself doubting his friend's motives and searching for a path out of harm's way.
More dangerous yet is Shad Johnson, the black district attorney whose dream is to send a rich white man to death row in Mississippi. At Shad's order, Drew is jailed, the police cease hunting Kate's killer, and Penn realizes that only by finding Kate's murderer himself can he save his friend's life.
With his daughter's babysitter as his guide, Penn penetrates the secret world of St. Stephen's, a place that parents never see, where reality veers so radically from appearance that Penn risks losing his own moral compass. St. Stephen's is a dark mirror of the adult world, one populated by steroid-crazed jocks, girls desperate for attention, and jaded teens flirting with nihilism. And hidden among them all is one true psychopath.
©2005 Greg Iles; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio
Yes, for the story. I like suspense and complicated relationships.
With the notable exception of the late, great Frank Muller, Southern accents are best left to native Southerners and British actors. I cringed each time I heard Nah'-chez' instead of Natch'-iz, and could'-sue' instead of cud'-zoo. I have always liked Dick Hill's performances, but I far prefer his Jack Reacher-type voice to this one.
I had planned to listen the rest of the books in this series, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get around the accent. I know whereof I speak; I am from south Alabama.
No. I didn't finish it though I labored almost 3/4 of the way through. Granted I am a late middle aged woman but the explicit, descriptive, detailed sex and the debauched portrayal of teens was more than I could endure. I felt like I needed to wash my brain and erase the images. Somehow I think that it reveals a lack of imagination when authors resort to surrounding their stories with sex instead of interesting characters and plots.
While I enjoyed a previous book by this author, I doubt I will try him again.
Put it down.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 14-year-old daughter.
I enjoyed this book despite the implausible plot and sub plots. Penn Cage is a likable enough protagonist who is a very believable. Most of the other characters in this book strain credulity. You have a well-respected middle-aged dentist who plans to divorce his Lorcet addicted trophy wife to run off with a beautiful 17-year old high school class valedictorian. You have a Croatian teen who has conspired with an African-American drug dealer to market narcotics to college students in Louisiana and Mississippi. You have another beautiful high school student who babysits for Page and yearns for a one-nighter with him and risks life and some other things to help Cage find a killer. You have an African-American DA conspiring with a redneck sheriff to get the DA elected mayor. Then you have an amorphous gang of Asian thugs who appear and disappear when Iles needs to tie up loose ends. You get the picture. I'm not sure why I enjoyed the book. Maybe it was because it was slightly over the edge. But I look forward to listening to another in the Cage series, hoping for improved story telling. I listened to the abridged version of The Quiet Game where Iles introduced Penn Cage and the potential is there. Dick Hill's narration wasn't as good as usual in this offering, with his voice trailing off at times making it difficult to hear. An average book which I believe will evoke neither hate nor excessive praise.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
I'm in the midst of reviewing several books I listened to 2 to 10 years ago that I did not review at the time. In this case one of the Audible listeners that I follow (Ted of Lancaster PA) expresses my reaction to this book better that I can. I urge you to go to and read his review, and give him a "helpful" vote if you agree.
I read both Cross books and Spaudau Phoenix, (and can highly recommend them), so I thought I'd try another Greg Isle book of a different genre and this one was recommended to me by a coworker. It's clear Mr Isle can hold his own in this arena as well and of course you can't go wrong with Dick Hill as your narrator. The character development was excellent. The story flowed well and the author filled in the blanks as it progressed. The ending was not a shocker by any means, but it had the right feel and brought the book to a nice conclusion. There???s no doubt some readers may find a few of the topics a bit off color, but I thought the author did a good job blending them into the story making them necessary and not just included for shock value. My only criticism would be I thought some of the characters, while developed well, were a bit farfetched and hard to believe. That said I truly enjoyed this book and would have given it 4.5 stars if I could have. I look forward to reading True Evil.
I am very pleased I purchased this book. I knew nothing of Iles work and took a chance on it based on the customer reviews and the narrator and am glad I did. Great character development and enough action/mystery to keep anyone that likes this genre entertained. Personally, I think Dick Hill is he best in the business at capturing exactly how the author intended the emotions of the characters to come across, without being too dramatic. I can't wait to listen to more from this author to see if the work is consistent.
If Iles kills any more people Natchez will be empty. In a town of 13k 10 a book seems high
Does all voices well
Iles has great talent but a wired imagination. How many more murder trials are left in this tiny town?
What started out as a good story quickly turned to an unbelievable story. And the underage sex part made me want to puke.
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