Purchase new Greg Iles book and help feed hungry

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

On March 5th, my new novel, Cemetery Road, lands nationwide.  As always, I will preface my national book tour with a benefit signing in Natchez, this one on March 2nd at one p.m. For the past few years, this event has benefited Natchez Children’s Services, but this year I have decided to donate the profits to a different charity. When my son Mark was attending Cathedral, he did service hours delivering meals for the Stewpot.  He told me how much it upset him to realize that the single meals he delivered to some Natchezians were the only food they would get all day. When I read recently that the Stewpot has been feeding people for one dollar per meal, I realized that the booksigning could provide more than 10,000 meals for needy folks in our town. I called Amanda Jeansonne, and she has worked nonstop to make this happen in a short time.

Before I tell you about the novel, let me mention a couple of other changes. In recent years we have been having this event at Dunleith, but this year Caroline and I will host the signing at Edelweiss on the bluff. There will be a cash bar, and Mrs. Albert Metcalfe has graciously offered the old YMCA lot for parking. More important, in the last few years the Children’s Home has ordered 1,000 books for this event. They would sell most of the books on the signing day, then sell the remainder throughout the year. This was a convenience for a lot of Natchez people, but the Stewpot has neither the physical space nor the staff to handle this kind of operation. For this reason, they will be ordering only 750 books, and I am urging everyone to try to pick up their copies on the day of the signing or, if it’s being sent out of town, to provide all the relevant shipping information when ordering. Fewer books means that getting a signed first edition will be harder than in years past. Please keep that in mind and order as soon as possible to be sure you get a signed copy.

Unlike the Natchez Burning trilogy, Cemetery Road is set in a fictional river town between Natchez and Vicksburg. “Bienville, Mississippi” will feel very familiar to locals, for it shares a lot of traits with Natchez, but it also differs in some ways. The main character is a successful Washington journalist who’s returned home to help his mother take care of his father, who’s suffering from advanced Parkinson’s Disease and an alcoholic’s liver. The novel opens with the murder of an archaeologist who discovered Indian bones in the town’s overgrown industrial park. This discovery threatens a deal between the town and a Chinese paper company planning to build a billion-dollar paper mill beside the Mississippi River. But the dark heart of this novel, as always, involves family secrets. The secret buried in Cemetery Road is so shocking that you will never see it coming.

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Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred, boxed review, their highest honor, and called it “compulsively readable.” Booklist wrote: “Iles sits alongside the icons at the top of today’s crime fiction mountain. He has made Mississippi his own in the same way that James Lee Burke has claimed Cajun country and Michael Connelly has remapped contemporary Los Angeles. Readers who have been eagerly awaiting his first post-Natchez novel needn’t have worried; they will be talking about this one for quite a while.”

If you’re going to read Cemetery Road, please feed some hungry people while you do it. The signed books are $30, but it’s for a great cause. To reserve books, call 601-442-8443 or email ntzstewpot@gmail.com. Order for your out-of-town friends and family as well. Natchez is going through a tough stretch, and we all have to pull together.

Come have a gin-and-tonic with me at Edelweiss on March 2!

Greg Iles is a Natchez resident and New York Times best-selling author.