Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exceptional

This masterpiece is filled with unexpected turns and touching moments. Penn Cage, mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, learns that his father, a beloved doctor, is about to be arrested for physician assisted suicide. The case involves Dr. Tom Cage's former nurse, Viola, an African-American.

Penn is a former prosecutor and wants to help his father but Tom won't talk about it, citing doctor patient confidentiality. A complication arises when an Afro-
American man claims that he is Viola's son and that Dr. Cage is his father.

The story goes back to the 60s when racial tensions in Mississippi were at their peak. The Klu Klux Klan is active but a more violent group splinters off. They call themselves the Double Eagles and one of the first people they murder is a young black man who was sleeping with the daughter of a wealthy member of the group. There is another black man who had been helping the murdered man hide and the Double Eagles set fire to this man's store and what they do to him is difficult to imagine. Dr. Cage's nurse is the sister of one of the men the Double Eagles are after and Cage helps her and the man in a way that places himself in danger.

We read about the power of the anti Negro members and their hatred for those promoting racial equality. There is a great deal of history detailed and we come across such figures as Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

Penn Cage narrates the story. He seems secure in his role as Mayor and novelist. However, neither he nor his father realize what that they are up against with the racists who they are trying to prove had something to do with Viola's death and had killed a number of men in the 60s.

This elegant story deals with hope and despair. The author makes the characters come to life, they are not just names on a page but people who the reader gets to know intimately. This is the first book of a planned trilogy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received a free copy of this book in return for writing an honest review.

3 comments:

Laurie C said...

I've heard how good Greg Iles is, but I haven't read anything by him yet. I've gotten away from reading crime fiction as much, now that I'm not in a mystery book club anymore.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This looks like a great read.

Michael Draper said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Laurie and Sheila. I appreciate your time and enjoy reading your comments.

Mike

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Broken Promise