Iles has written some solid, beautifully constructed thrillers (24 Hours; Dead Sleep), so when his latest seems for page after page to have no logical explanation for its central mystery, we hold on, bide our time and wait for the moment of revelation that will make everything fall into place. Unfortunately, that moment never comes. The puzzle of how a woman who has been dead for 10 years can suddenly appear in the body of another woman turns out not to be a mystery at all. It's a whole other genre horror or fantasy or science fiction. Iles fans will certainly enjoy the way he once again brings to piquant life his home turf Natchez and the Mississippi Delta and creates a character with an actual job. John Waters is a petroleum geologist, and the details of his work are carefully rendered. He's a happily married man of 41 with a bright eight-year-old daughter, although his sex life has all but disappeared in the wake of several disastrous pregnancies. So he's ready to be pushed over the edge by the sudden appearance of Eve Sumner, a 32-year-old real estate agent who seems to know every intimate detail of Waters's youthful affair with the late Mallory Candler a mentally fragile beauty queen who was subsequently raped and murdered in New Orleans. The game gets really serious when Eve is also murdered. Possibilities abound: John's weak and financially reckless partner might be behind the whole thing, and even Waters's embittered wife could be a suspect. Readers will probably stick around to see how Iles gets himself off the hook, but it's hard to imagine many of them coming away completely satisfied. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Adultery, abortion, child molestation, madness, and murder are only some of the problems dealt with by Natchez, MS, petroleum geologist John Waters in Iles's psychological thriller. On top of an Environmental Protection Agency investigation, the spirit of Mallory Candler, Waters's former lover, dead for ten years, shows up in the body of a local beauty. Waters and his wife have a dismal sex life. What is he to do? This tale is like watching a train wreck in slow motion-fascinating and horrifying, though perhaps not horrifying in the way Iles intends. The author is usually a reliable writer, as with such other Mississippi-based yarns as Mortal Fear, but his venture into the supernatural is ludicrous. The ambiguous ending will satisfy few. Even the often splendid Dick Hill falters, allowing too many characters to become caricatures. This unusually unpleasant mystery is not recommended.-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Wild and wooly-headed thriller in which a settled family man confronts his homicidal first love, who is herself dead and buried. Huh? Well, it happens this way in the latest Iles (Dead Sleep, 2001, etc.). While a student at Ole Miss, John Waters falls overwhelmingly in love with Mallory Gray Candler, and she with him. The drop-dead gorgeous Mallory has a dark side to her, however, which John cottons onto the second time she tries to kill him. Temperamentally unsuited, they part. A few years later, unlucky Mallory is raped and murdered. Or so the world thinks. In actuality, Mallory, in a way incomprehensible to her (readers may also be puzzled), manages a "soul transmigration," the first of several en route to her ultimate destination: John. So one bright afternoon in Natchez, there's drop-dead gorgeous Eve Sumner observing John Waters as he coaches his seven-year-old daughter's soccer team. Eyes meet, hers the "eyes that know the souls of men." Soon enough, she's rattling off secrets only Mallory could have been party to. Shortly after, Eve tells John she is Mallory-that is to say, Mallory in an Eve package. Naturally, John resists so fanciful a notion, but Mallory-Eve knows too much minutiae to be doubted. Belief first, then terror as John comes to understand the convoluted wickedness of her grand plan. What mind-over-matter Mallory intends is resumption of her interrupted existence as John's soulmate-no soul-transmigration too grotesque to contemplate. "Get out of my wife," hisses frantic John at his tormenter. But she schemes, manipulates, and murders, eventually thwarted only when she encounters a mind as tenacious as hers. As one absurdist explanation follows another far-fetched plottwist, characters repeatedly tell each other to "keep an open mind." Readers so inclined might find a reward scattered here and there.
“Sleep No More is that rarity, a thriller that really thrills.”—Stephen King
“Completely engaging...irresistible pass-the-popcorn fun…a spirited chiller.”—People
“Reads like a revved up go-cart, with surprises at every curve. Erotic, shocking, pulse racing and a whole lot of white-knuckled fun.”—Clarion-Ledger
“Iles presents whodunits that are a cut above…His characters have some dimension. You usually can’t see his plot twists coming.”—Fort Worth Star Telegram
“A broody, moody writer whose books have the twitchy languidness of Tennessee Williams combined with the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock...a dazzling combination of guilt, obsessions and suspicion.”—St. Petersburg Times
“This is exactly the sort of action at which Iles is best: the cornered family man, trying to do right by his people, facing extraordinary problems with heroic effort.”—The New Orleans Times-Picayune
“It takes an exceptional writer to make a story about soul transfer believable. Iles, who has wowed critics with his six previous thrillers, not only makes the incredible seem logical but also engages the reader completely in the hopes and doubts of his protagonist…Iles is masterful at sustaining psychological suspense...An irresistible page-turner.”—Booklist
“Fans will certainly enjoy the way he once again brings to piquant life his home turf Natchez and the Mississippi Delta.”—Publishers Weekly
“With this new novel, Iles has once again proven himself master of the suspense genre…he has crafted a compelling psychological thriller.”—Library Journal