• Wendy Wanner

Book Review: Cemetery Road by Greg Iles


Recommended

While Cemetery Road did not build enough anticipation and anxiety to creep into the thriller space, it was an engrossing mystery novel with the best opening lines ever written.


Cemetery Road, a stand-alone Greg Iles novel, is centered around family and all the dirty laundry that comes with it —obligations, secrets, family businesses, alliances and partnerships, extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, the list goes on. But the real trouble starts when family lines are crossed, pitting friends and foes against one another when murders, a billion-dollar Chinese investment, and a failed newspaper collide.


Never has a better first paragraph been written: “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 . . .” Pure genius and the reader is hooked from the first page. Line and sinker.


When Marshall McEwan returns to Bienville, Mississippi to help his mother manage his father’s failing health, he is haunted by survivor’s guilt over the death of his brother. He faces decades-old issues with his father, who blamed him for being the son who lived. Not only must he find a way to save the failing family paper, but he also has to choose between the love of his life and the friendship of a man who saved his life.


Like a dog with a bone, once he suspects Buck Ferris, the man who raised him like a son, was murdered, his reporter instinct kicks in and Marshall will stop at nothing to discover the truth. His search for answers pits him against the formidable Bienville Poker Club, an exclusive group of patriarchs, and reveals more secrets than he bargained for, especially in his forbidden relationship with Jet Talal.


The plot has more twists and turns than the Mississippi River, and we devour the clues Iles feeds us. The villains are guys (and gals) you love to hate. We see bits of ourselves even if we don’t want to.


Greg Iles doesn’t disappoint in this suspense novel, and I loved that it was not part of a series. The conflict was presented, resolved, and tied up with a bow before the end. While Cemetery Road did not build enough anticipation and anxiety to creep into the thriller space, it was an engrossing mystery novel.

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