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30 March 2014

Greg Iles: The Death Factory

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Penn Cage remembered
It is several years since Greg Iles published his last book because he has been recovering from a near fatal auto accident. It is a credit to Greg that not only has he started writing again but his writing doesn't seem to have been affected by that trauma. Most of us who were followers of Greg Iles will have dimmed memories of his last books featuring Penn Cage, and this novella is a great way to revisit a character that we previously knew so well. In a clever and useful novella Iles manages to revisit the life and adventures of Penn Cage and introduce us to his next book.

In a discussion with his uncle while they are waiting for news of the recovery of Cage's father Tom from a heart attack, Iles paints a vivid picture of Natchez and outlines some of Penn's former life from his time in the District Attorney's office in Houston to more recently as Mayor of Natchez when he smashed an international crime ring using a riverboat gambling casino based in Natchez for their nefarious activities (featured in his last book "The Devil's Punchbowl").

The novella also introduces a scenario of possible assisted death that is central to his next book "Natchez Burning" as Penn recounts the painful death of his wife Sarah and how Penn's father, Tom Cage, a respected doctor, helped her cope with a painful death by cancer with carefully administered medications.

This was a good novella - 4.5 stars. Now I am well primed to move on and read "Natchez Burning".

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