Cemetery Road – Book Review
by Greg Iles
Published by: William Morrow
Publish Date: 2019
Genre(s): Fiction, Suspense
HB&W Rating: 3.5
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
Marshall McEwan is one of the most successful journalists in Washington, DC. But his father is terminally ill, and he must return to his childhood home – a place he vowed he would never go back to.
Bienville, Mississippi, is no longer the city Marshall remembers. His family’s 150-year-old newspaper is failing, and Jet Talal, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of a dozen powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Bienville Poker Club. The city’s only hope of economic salvation is a new, billion-dollar Chinese paper mill. But on the verge of the deal’s consummation, two deaths rock Bienville to its core.
Joining forces with his former lover, Marshall begins digging for the truth. But he and Jet soon discover that the soil of Mississippi is a minefield where explosive secrets can be far more destructive than injustice.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
The oldest human failing is to assume we know everything about those we love. We may well know more than anyone else on earth about a person. But even if we know 99 percent of their thoughts and history, the remaining unknowns could shatter everything we believe about them.Iles, Greg. “Cemetery Road.” New York, NY, William Morrow, 2019. P399
Murder. Power. Corruption. Greed. Infidelity. Did this book hit all seven deadly since in some way? I’m going to have to look that up.
This is my first book by this author, and I’m feeling a bit torn on it. This was a pretty good story, well-thought-out and well-planned. There was a lot that I liked about it, from the complex characters to the intimate portrayal of the American South to the moral dilemma facing Marshall as he investigates the murder of his mentor. But what I love is the way that the author is able to portray that nothing is ever black and white, or so easily right and wrong. The best we can do is to be the best we can be in a way that does the most good for the most people.
The book is a bit lengthy, but even so, it moved along pretty well. I will say that the entire book takes place over the course of only a few days, with multiple flashbacks and storylines, which at 600 pages had my head spinning a bit. I admit to having a bit of a hard time keeping everything straight toward the end.
Iles has written an incredibly complex and convoluted story, and with all his references to dead poets (I particularly loved the reference to the Moving Finger as written by Omar Khayyán), he appears to be extremely well-read. Yet as much as I liked it, I’m leaving it with 3.5 stars because I personally felt it could have been shorter with fewer incomplete sentences (pet peeve, sorry), and the love triangle…if one can really even call it that…left a weird taste in my mouth. I felt like the ending had a lot of flash, but not as much substance as I’d have liked. I was left feeling like the entire story got messier and messier the farther along I got and that the ending was almost a little too neatly tied up.
There’s no meaning to be found in tragedy. Only in our response to it. What we do matters, nothing else.Iles, Greg. “Cemetery Road.” New York, NY, William Morrow, 2019. P488
That said, I think this book is a great conversation starter for people about injustice between races, classes, and genders and the morality of making everything right in one fell swoop. Maybe reading stories like this one will open a reader’s eyes and allow them to perceive the world differently than before, and maybe then we can get closer to a world that is fair and just for all.
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