Sunday, May 10, 2015
There's a tree in the meadow with a stream driftin by." Song Lyrics
The novel features a mixture of real and fictional characters, during the story, we read of events with Fidel Castro and Lee Harvey Oswald.
The central character is Penn Cage, "Mr. Mayor." He is an attorney and was formerly a district attorney in Houston. To Penn, family is the most important element. When his wife, Sarah, died at a young age, it brought Penn and his little daughter, Annie, close together. In fact, it is Annie who feels protective about Penn.
Penn's father, Dr. Tom Cage, has been in medical practice for nearly fifty years. In the deeply segregated town of Natchez, Mississippi, he treats everyone alike. He's even helped a number of black patients who were being sought by members of the Klan. Dr. Cage He's loved by many of his patients and, being a former combat medic in Korea, he doesn't back down from a fight.
Penn is engaged to Caitlin Masters, the editor of "Natchez Examiner." She's recently discovered that she's expecting a child but that doesn't slow her down in seeking a good story.
The Double Eagles is a breakaway KKK group. They're made up of a number of vicious men who are militant separatists. The have a past they would like to remain hidden and don't like Penn and Caitlin digging into past murders in Natchez.
Tom Cage is on the run from the police because he's accused of killing his former nurse, Viola Thomas. She is dying of cancer and came back to Natchez to die. Her son, a disbarred attorney from Chicago, accuses Tom of murder and, as a result, the legal authorities are looking for Tom.
Beneath everything else was the Double Eagle plan to assassinate JFK. Not to give away plot, but the FBI is looking into this part of the story.
Gres Isles is a story teller above all else. He's able to weave the segments of this novel together into a suspenseful plot. I enjoyed the story and the chase for the evidence about these former Klan members.
It's also a timely story in that the black community is treated like second class citizens and the crimes against them are often ignored.
At over 800 pages, I felt the story could have benefitted from tightening up the plot and not having so many details and fillers about JFK and RFK and their dislike for a New Orleans Mob figure and their desire to deport this crime lord.