Updated: Dec 30, 2019
A first rate journey into a small town’s corrupt power brokers and the length they will go to protect their pockets.
Marshall McEwan vowed never to return to his hometown, Beinville Mississippi when he left at age eighteen. He moved to Washington D.C. and became an extremely successful and award-winning journalist. But now his father is now dying and his mother needs Marshall to help with the debt-ridden family newspaper, The Watchman.
Soon after Marshall’s return to Beinville, his boyhood mentor, Buck Ferris is found murdered at a soon-to-be construction site. The site is that of a new paper mill, a billion dollar economic investment by a group of Chinese investors, in a town on the brink of economic death. Buck had been looking for some 4,000 year old artifacts he believed to be at the site. Bienville is thrown into chaos with the threat of historic artifacts on the site, which would kill the deal. Marshall will stop at nothing to find Buck’s killer. His investigation brings him into conflict with the Poker Club, a corrupt group of Beinville’s power brokers, who will not let anyone stand in their way of lining their pockets.
Marshall’s high school sweetheart from over twenty years ago, Jet, still lives in Beinville and has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule the Poker Club. Paul Matheson, Max’s son, and Marshall’s best friend growing up, is now married to Jet. Paul, a Special Forces veteran, had saved Marshall’s life in Iraq and is now suffering from PTSD. Marshall and Paul’s relationship is complicated. Marshall adds to the complication when he renews a passionate affair with Jet that is bound to have major consequences.
Marshall is also suffering from several of his own issues. When they were teenagers, Marshall’s older brother Adam, a Bienville’s star athlete drowned while trying to swim across the Mississippi River on a night of reckless teenage cockiness, for which Marshall has always blamed himself. It is the reason he left Beinville immediately after high school. His father has always blamed Marshall for Adam’s death as well. Marshall’s return to Beinville was an opportunity for redemption and forgiveness.
Murder, corruption, secrets and complicated personal relationships form the elements of this epic tale of a town and it’s people struggling with economic viability. The story is suspenseful and intense and the bad guys are beyond bad. The writing is descriptive and evocative. I found myself totally caught up in the deceptions, greed, infidelities and grief of this small town drama, as well as Marshall’s efforts to do the right thing. The characters are well-drawn and richly flawed. CEMETERY ROAD is a first rate journey into a small town’s powerfully rich and greedy who will do and say anything necessary to protect their pockets. GREG ILES has created a perfect blend of characters, setting and story.
This was my first Greg Iles novel, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read it. He had me with the first lyrical paragraph of the book. “I never meant to kill my brother. I never set out hate my father. I never dreamed I would bury my own son. Nor could I have imagined that I would betray the childhood friend who save my life, or win a Pulitzer Prize for telling a lie.” And it just gets better from there. My favorite part was exploring Marshall’s emotionally wrenching relationship with his father. While the book was lengthy, I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of the 590 pages. Greg Iles lives in Natchez, Mississippi and has written twelve bestselling novels, several of which have been made into films.
Thanks to LibraryThing, William Morrow and Greg Iles for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher William Morrow
Published March 5, 2019