How quickly I read this (862 pages in 9 days; that's almost a hundred pages a day, which is a lot for me nowadays, given how busy my life has become) is a testament to how fucking amazing Greg Iles is. Anyone who can make almost 900 pages consistently and constantly thrilling gots to be a damn wizard, yo. (#IlesTheGray) There are authors working with half this page count who can't hold my attention for more than 200 pages.
But, boy oh boy, if I'd read this when it first came out and had to wait for the next book, I would've lost my shit. (#firstworldproblems) This is the first Penn Cage novel that does not stand alone. It doesn't tell one complete story from beginning to end, which honestly shocked me. I expected Iles to wrap up one thread completely, but he didn't. All he did was put a tourniquet on a severed appendage.
Spoiler alert: you're in for a disgusting cliffhanger at the end of Natchez Burning. I suppose that's all right, considering I have the final two books in my possession, but I feel for those people who had to wait multiple years to get the entire story. I
've debated deducting a star due to some reused plot ideas and themes Iles lifted from the first three books in this series but have decided not to. Even though the book deals with a cold case (like The Quiet Game), finding out someone we suspected to be of strong moral character is really an adulterous asshat (ala Turning Angel), and an unstoppably powerful villain with legion and uncountable wealth at their disposal (circa The Devil's Punchbowl), I was thoroughly entertained. Sure the book is a hybrid of the first three books in the series, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a fucking blast to read. I wouldn't change a thing about it, so it gets all the stars.
Actually, I take that back. I missed Kelly. I hope I see my boy Kells in the next two books. He really is my favorite character in this series. Such a stone-cold badass. #mancrush
In summation: Sorry this review is short but I have two more 800+ page novels to read in this series so I'm under a time crunch and fuck you this'll have to be enough goodbye.
Final Judgment: Cliffhangers-R-Us