Cemetery Roadby Greg Iles Published 05 Mar 2019
|Publisher||William Morrow & Company|
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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.
When Marshall McEwan left his hometown at age eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away ultimately spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington D.C. But just as the political chaos in the nation’s capital lifts him to new heights, Marshall is forced to return home in spite of his boyhood vow.
His father is dying, his mother is struggling to keep the family newspaper from failing, and the town is in the midst of an economic rebirth that might be built upon crimes that reach into the state capitol—and perhaps even to Washington. More disturbing still, Marshall’s high school sweetheart, Jet, has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule Bienville through a shadow organization called the Bienville Poker Club.
When archeologist Buck McKibben is murdered at a construction site, Bienville is thrown into chaos. The ensuing homicide investigation is soon derailed by a second crime that rocks the community to its core. Power broker Max Matheson’s wife has been shot dead in her own bed, and the only other person in it at the time was her husband, Max. Stranger still, Max demands that his daughter-on-law, Jet, defend him in court.
As a journalist, Marshall knows all too well how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Without telling a soul, he joins forces with Jet, who has lived for fifteen years at the heart of Max Matheson’s family, and begins digging into both murders. With Jet walking the dangerous road of an inside informer, they soon uncover a web of criminal schemes that undergird the town’s recent success. But these crimes pale in comparison to the secret at the heart of the Matheson family. When those who have remained silent for years dare to speak to Marshall, pressure begins to build like water against a crumbling dam.
Marshall loses friends, family members, and finally even Jet, for no one in Bienville seems willing to endure the reckoning that the Poker Club has long deserved. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.
"Cemetery Road" Reviews
Book #9 - Cemetery Road by Greg Iles. This new book by Iles, a standalone, is interesting but not nearly as good as his Nachez Burning trilogy. I had the opportunity to interview him here for this new book.
Thanks to William Morrow and Goodreads First Reads program for an ARC of this amazing book. The following is my honest review:
Hands down one of my favorite books by Greg Iles!! I made the mistake of starting this book around midnight right before I was ready to go to sleep. At 3 am, with my eyes struggling to stay open, I kept saying just one more chapter to myself over and over. It's that good.
This story is so gripping. It starts out:
I never meant to kill my brother. I never set out to hate my father. I never dreamed I would bury my own son. Nor could I have imagined that I would betray the childhood friend who saved my life, or win a Pulitzer Prize for telling a lie.
All these things I have done, yet most people I know would call me an honorable man. I wouldn't go that far. But I try to be a good man, and most of the time, I believe I succeed. How is this possible? These are complicated times.
And it's not easy to be good.
And there you have it...pulls you right in from the first sentence.
There are so many good things to say about this book.
- The plot is magnificent. I was one edge for so much of this book that I was unable to stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen next. Just when I thought I knew the direction things were going, something would shift and the story would change.
- Characterization is incredible. Iles has a true gift for bringing his characters to life. I could vividly imagine each of them and I began to anticipate what I thought their actions to given situations would be. The people in this book were relatable and as a reader I felt their struggles, fears, and successes right along side of them.
- It was realistic. It's easy to see the world in terms of what's right in front of us but Iles reminds us that often times it's the people with wealth and power that are shaping the events around us and that testing them can be dangerous (or even deadly).
- This novel is filled with good ole Mississippi charm. I love that Iles always incorporates history and culture into his books. He's also great at setting the tone and the atmosphere of the book and it's easy to imagine the small town charm Bienville has, while also recognizing the hardships it faces.
I'm pretty stingy with 5 stars but I didn't hesitate to give Cemetery Road just that. I would have given it more if I could have. Simply put, this book has something for everyone. Mystery, suspense, romance, scandal, history, and the never ending question of what constitutes right versus wrong.
Read this book!
This is your usual Iles. A crusading and prize winning journalist returns to his small town Mississippi home to a less than functional family and barely functioning family newspaper. There is a murder which provides the impetus for the narrative. A cabal controls this town and nice men they are not. They are plenty of lies, deceit, betrayal and backstabbing. As I said, your usual Iles which is always entertaining.
A first rate journey into a small town’s corrupt power brokers and the length they will go to protect their pockets.
Marshall McEwan vowed never to return to his hometown, Beinville Mississippi when he left at age eighteen. He moved to Washington D.C. and became an extremely successful and award-winning journalist. But now his father is now dying and his mother needs Marshall to help with the debt-ridden family newspaper, The Watchman.
Soon after Marshall’s return to Beinville, his boyhood mentor, Buck Ferris is found murdered at a soon-to-be construction site. The site is that of a new paper mill, a billion dollar economic investment by a group of Chinese investors, in a town on the brink of economic death. Buck had been looking for some 4,000 year old artifacts he believed to be at the site. Bienville is thrown into chaos with the threat of historic artifacts on the site, which would kill the deal. Marshall will stop at nothing to find Buck’s killer. His investigation brings him into conflict with the Poker Club, a corrupt group of Beinville’s power brokers, who will not let anyone stand in their way of lining their pockets.
Marshall’s high school sweetheart from over twenty years ago, Jet, still lives in Beinville and has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule the Poker Club. Paul Matheson, Max’s son, and Marshall’s best friend growing up, is now married to Jet. Paul, a Special Forces veteran, had saved Marshall’s life in Iraq and is now suffering from PTSD. Marshall and Paul’s relationship is complicated. Marshall adds to the complication when he renews a passionate affair with Jet that is bound to have major consequences.
Marshall is also suffering from several of his own issues. When they were teenagers, Marshall’s older brother Adam, a Bienville’s star athlete drowned while trying to swim across the Mississippi River on a night of reckless teenage cockiness, for which Marshall has always blamed himself. It is the reason he left Beinville immediately after high school. His father has always blamed Marshall for Adam’s death as well. Marshall’s return to Beinville was an opportunity for redemption and forgiveness.
Murder, corruption, secrets and complicated personal relationships form the elements of this epic tale of a town and it’s people struggling with economic viability. The story is suspenseful and intense and the bad guys are beyond bad. The writing is descriptive and evocative. I found myself totally caught up in the deceptions, greed, infidelities and grief of this small town drama, as well as Marshall’s efforts to do the right thing. The characters are well-drawn and richly flawed. CEMETERY ROAD is a first rate journey into a small town’s powerfully rich and greedy who will do and say anything necessary to protect their pockets. GREG Iles has created a perfect blend of characters, setting and story.
This was my first Greg Iles novel, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read it. He had me with the first lyrical paragraph of the book. “I never meant to kill my brother. I never set out hate my father. I never dreamed I would bury my own son. Nor could I have imagined that I would betray the childhood friend who save my life, or win a Pulitzer Prize for telling a lie.” And it just gets better from there. My favorite part was exploring Marshall’s emotionally wrenching relationship with his father. While the book was lengthy, I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of the 590 pages. Greg Iles lives in Natchez Mississippi and has written twelve bestselling novels, several of which have been made into films.
Thanks to LibraryThing, William Morrow and Greg Iles for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher William Morrow
Published March 5, 2019
Greg Illes writes thrilling, complex stories set in the deep south of the United States. There are lovely antebellum mansions surrounded by fragrant flower gardens, but he explores the rotten core of these towns, which may contain corruption, murder, racism and injustice. This is a long book of 608 pages, but his compelling previous Natchez Burning trilogy contained 804, 814 and 707 pages without unnecessary filler, and I felt they could have gripped my attention even longer.
In Cemetery Road, the protagonist and narrator, Marshall McEwan arrives home to Bienville, Mississippi. He left home at age 18 and vowed never to return. The reason was apparent hate and blame on the part of his estranged father. Now his father is dying and a newspaper run by the family for 150 years is on the brink of failure. Marshall has a renowned journalist in Washington, D.C. He has risen to the top of his field both as a reporter and TV commentator.
In a stunning opening, Marshall describes the type of person he considers himself:
“ I never meant to kill my brother. I never set out to hate my father. I never dreamed I would bury my own son. Nor could I have imagined I would betray my childhood friend who saved my life or win a Pulitzer Prize for telling a lie.
All these things I have done, but most people I know would call me an honourable man.....I try to be a good man, and most of the time, I believe I succeed.”
This introspective self-image may be shattered during a series of events which take place in less than a week.
This is a story which explores themes of friendship, betrayal, forbidden sexual liaisons, grief, shame, corruption, murder, evil, greed and injustice in this small southern town.
Bienville is on the verge of economic prosperity, unlike nearby towns and cities which are in decline. The town is ruled by a group of extremely wealthy and ruthless old white men, called the Poker Club. They have secured the town’s future by obtaining a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill, and the clearing of the land site for the new development is underway.
Shortly after his return home, Marshall’s former father figure, scoutmaster, and archaeologist, has been murdered while digging on the construction site for the new paper mill. Marshall vows to bring the killer to justice which brings into conflict with the powerful Poker Club. He discovers how wealth and political interference can undermine justice.
To complicate his personal life is his childhood love Jet, who is a lawyer and has married into the family of Max Matheson. Her husband, Paul, was Marshall’s good friend from school days and while in Special Forces saved Marshall’s life when on assignment in Iraq. The marriage is shaky, as her husband suffers from PTSD, and is drinking and over medicating. They have a son.
Max, the father-in-law is one of the leading patriarchs in the Poker Club. Jet and Marshall begin a passionate and dangerous affair, meeting in secret. Max’s wife is shot to death while in bed with Max. They were the only two people in the home. Was it murder or suicide?
Weighing heavily on Marshall’s mind as he uncovers some truths about the murders and the underlying corruption pervading all levels of the town, is how much to publish. Does he put his own life, the lives of his loved ones in jeopardy, and must he sacrifice his integrity to expose the truth? To do so, may destroy the new factory along with impending jobs and related infrastructure.
Recommended. An enthralling, twisted, complicated thriller, with an easy to follow plot. The characters are well developed, some sympathetic but flawed, and some who personify evil. 4.5 stars
Ominous, pacey, and tragic!
Cemetery Road is a gritty, engrossing novel about life in Bienville, Mississippi, a small town struggling with socioeconomic depression, corruption, murder, scheming politicians, and powerful, rich, white businessmen with no scruples.
The prose is descriptive and tight. The characters are tormented, scarred, and complex. And the plot is a rollercoaster ride of twists, turns, deception, allegiances, revelations, greed, power, violence, infidelity, integrity, heartbreak, and grief.
Overall, I would have to say that Cemetery Road is a dark, meticulous, deliciously suspenseful thriller that’s classic Iles with its journalistic backdrop, long-buried secrets, southern mentality, and complicated familial dynamics.
Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.