All this is lurid in the extreme and, in Iles's hands, entirely gripping, but there is more to Turning Angel than sex and scandal. Iles offers an insider's heartfelt picture of a Southern town that is dying because of lousy schools, a failing economy and racial tensions -- and, again, there is no reason to think Natchez is unique. Iles populates this town with characters who are all too real and makes clear that its privileged young people no longer live isolated lives … this is a powerful piece of popular fiction.
The Washington Post
Hill, one of the best interpreters of novels featuring thoughtful male protagonists under pressure, was an inspired choice for Iles's powerful tale of murder, sex, drugs, Deep South societal unrest and generational confusion. Respectful of the Natchez, Miss., atmosphere that permeates the novel, Hill uses a lyrical and literate drawl for the book's narrator, attorney Penn Cage. Iles's genuinely suspenseful and well-plotted thriller puts Cage through much emotional upheaval. Hill responds accordingly, with just the right mood-from the shock Cage feels when discovering that his best friend, respected and happily married Dr. Drew Elliott, had been sexually involved with a bright and beautiful 17-year-old and is now suspected of killing her to Cage's awe when he finds himself falling for his daughter's babysitter. Hill's Dr. Elliott has a slightly whiny voice, conveying a man on the edge of panic, but with more than a hint of a "Why me?" attitude born of entitlement. The rest of the large cast is treated to the same careful interpretation. Shad Johnson, the politically ambitious black DA, has the sound of a smooth talker who is also an intellectual bully. Penn's dad has a soft-spoken, no-nonsense dignity. Hill is particularly effective in delineating an assortment of teenagers, among them babysitter Mia Burke. Hill has selected an attitude for her that mixes blas precocity with little girl neediness. This helps to underline the novel's theme: today's teens mature sooner than most adults realize and can pay a very high price for their early loss of innocence. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 31). (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Turning Angel will have you wondering where Greg Iles has been all your life."
Iles has penned another chilling legal thriller featuring prosecuting attorney-turned-novelist Penn Cage. Just as in The Quiet Game-in which Cage helped solve a 30-year-old civil rights murder-the story plays out in his hometown of Natchez, MS. This time, however, the case involves murder, statutory rape, and drug trafficking. Drew Elliott, Cage's best friend from high school who is now a respected local physician, is implicated when the teenage girl with whom he was having an affair turns up dead. Iles deftly combines a corrupt legal system, meddlesome neighbors, a drug cartel desperate enough to commit murder, and a naively uncooperative suspect in a plot against which only a larger-than-life character like Cage could prevail. This book will certainly please fans of Iles's earlier novels, while its thrill-a-minute pace and frequent plot twists are certain to appeal to new readers. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/05.]-Thomas L. Kilpatrick, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Another parboiled offering from the poster boy of southern gothic thrillers (Blood Memory, 2005, etc.). Natchez, Miss., a town that has seen rosier days, is about to get kicked while it's down. Kate Townsend, shining light of her senior class-valedictorian, gorgeous, a double state champion (tennis and swimming) with a full scholarship to Harvard-has drowned. Her death is being linked to a pillar of the community, the estimable, beloved Dr. Drew Elliot, a husband and father who is 23 years Kate's senior. Among the locals most seriously affected is upright, unselfish Penn Cage, Drew's lifelong friend. A former prosecutor now considering a run for mayor, he's asked to represent Drew, who confesses to an affair with Kate, which will surely place him in the vanguard of suspects if her death turns out to be foul play. Penn is shaken and thinks fleetingly of distancing himself from a situation that is certainly messy and potentially ruinous. He knows Natchez, and he knows how quickly its citizens can turn if they feel betrayed. Drew, however, is loyal, and a good guy's got to do what a good guy's got to do. As Penn pursues an investigation on Drew's behalf, he discovers things about his friend, about Kate, about his town and about himself that will darken his view of civic responsibility. Lively scenes pop up here and there, but 500-plus pages will transmogrify most thrillers into a relentless march of predictable events.