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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Southern Man

Series: Penn Cage #7

Narrator: Scott Brick

Harper Audio

ISBN: 978-0062824691

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 05/28/2024

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars + (ARC)



The hugely anticipated new Penn Cage novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy and Cemetery Road, about a man—and a town—rocked by anarchy and tragedy, but unbowed in the fight to save those they love.


Fifteen years after the events of the Natchez Burning trilogy, Penn Cage is alone. Nearly all his loved ones are dead, his old allies gone, and he carries a mortal secret that separates him from the world. But Penn’s exile comes to an end when a brawl at a Mississippi rap festival triggers a bloody mass shooting—one that nearly takes the life of his daughter Annie.


As the stunned cities of Natchez and Bienville reel, antebellum plantation homes continue to burn and the deadly attacks are claimed by a Black radical group as historic acts of justice. Panic sweeps through the tourist communities, driving them inexorably toward a race war.


But what might have been only a regional sideshow of the 2024 Presidential election explodes into national prominence, thanks to the stunning ascent of Robert E. Lee White, a Southern war hero who seizes the public imagination as a third-party candidate. Dubbed “the Tik-Tok Man,” and funded by an eccentric Mississippi billionaire, Bobby White rides the glory of his Special Forces record to an unprecedented run at the White House—one unseen since the campaign of H. Ross Perot.


To triumph over the national party machines, Bobby evolves a plan of unimaginable daring. One fateful autumn weekend, with White set to declare his candidacy in all fifty states, the forces polarizing America line up against one another: Black vs. white, states vs. the federal government, democracy vs. Fascism. Teaming with his fearless daughter (now a civil rights lawyer) and a former Black Panther who spent most of his life in Parchman Prison, Penn tears into Bobby White’s pursuit of the Presidency and ultimately risks a second Civil War to try to expose its motivation to the world, before the America of our Constitution slides into the abyss.


In Southern Man, Greg Iles returns to the riveting style and historic depth that made the Natchez Burning trilogy a searing masterpiece and hurls the narrative fifteen years forward into our current moment—where America itself teeters on the brink of anarchy.









My Review


Master storyteller Greg Iles (favorite author) returns with his highly anticipated popular Penn Cage series with #7, SOUTHERN MAN —a man— town—family —a past —present —rocked by tragedy and a fight for justice in this riveting Southern political thriller.


About...


Against the backdrop of Mississippi, the past meets the present in this gripping masterpiece novel fifteen years after the Natchez Burning trilogy.


Penn Cage is alone; his loved ones and allies are dead. He has family secrets. He finds himself drawn into a web of suspense, mystery, and intrigue regarding a decades-old mystery surrounding his own family.


There is a tragedy at a Mississippi music festival that triggers a bloody mass shooting—one that nearly takes the life of his daughter Annie (now a civil rights lawyer).


As the stunned cities of Natchez and Bienville reel, antebellum plantation homes continue to burn, and the deadly attacks are claimed by a Black radical group as historic acts of justice. Panic sweeps through the tourist communities, driving them inexorably toward a race war. Sinister and powerful forces are at work with ruthless hatred, greed, and political forces.


Penn is suffering from cancer, his mom's death, and worries about his daughter and her family. SOUTHERN MAN honestly explores the truth and complexities of American history and the contemporary US presently.


My thoughts...


Greg Iles is a remarkable storyteller whose passion shines through with his love of writing and the South. SOUTHERN MAN is a compelling, thought-provoking, gripping story of suspense, family secrets, identity, the complexities of race and class, prejudice, belonging, forgiveness, and redemption. Fully immersive and deeply atmospheric with vivid settings, the author brilliantly draws you in from page one to the end.


INTENSE, multi-layered, complex, twisty, and fast-paced, there are real and uncomfortable truths about the past and present, and the author does not shy away from these essential, timely, and emotionally charged topics. From the present political climate and Civil War-era slavery issues, this is an eye-opening critical novel by one of the best writers out today.


I have been a long-time fan of the author, and he deserves a medal for delivering this astounding novel amid his own health crisis, much like his character Penn Cage. Iles and Cage fans will devour it! I highly recommend it.


Recs...


This is for Greg Iles and Penn Cage fans, John Grisham, David Baldacci, John Hart, Nelson DeMille, John Sanford, Michael Connelly, Robert Dugoni, and C.J. Box.


A special thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for the honor of reading an advanced reading copy for an honest review.



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: May 28, 2024





Praise


"A first-rate political thriller. . . an unflinching look at the frightening rise of fascism and Trumpism."

— John Grisham, #1 New York Times bestselling author


“Greg Iles is one of America’s great storytellers. His books are page-turners with real literary resonance. Southern Man is the latest and the best.”

— Stephen King, #1 New York Times bestselling author


"Iles delivers an insightful, ambitious, and satisfying saga. This is a high-water mark in a strong series."

— Publishers Weekly


“This is a genuinely terrifying book because of its plausibility—Iles perfectly captures the tinderbox that America is in the post-Trump era. This is a perfectly done political thriller with genuine resonance. Astonishing.”

— Kirkus (starred review) on Southern Man


"This astonishingly good novel is very much a product of its time, a story of violence and racial unrest in the aftermath of the Trump presidency. . . Politically charged and written in rich, visually evocative prose, this is Iles at his reader-thrilling best."

— Booklist (starred review) on Southern Man













About the Author



Greg Iles has spent most of his life in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of many New York Times bestsellers. His Natchez Burning trilogy continued the story of Penn Cage, the protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He is a member of the lit-rock group The Rock Bottom Remainders, lives in Natchez with his wife, and his three children. WEBSITE


READ MORE ABOUT GREG'S COURAGEOUS HEALTH JOURNEY HERE


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