Greg Iles 1960
- Spandau Phoenix, 1993
- Black Cross, 1995
- Mortal Fear, 1997
- The Quiet Game, (Penn Cage novel), 2000
- 24 Hours, 2000 (became movie Trapped)
- Dead Sleep July 2001
- Sleep No More 2002
- The Footprints of God: A Novel
- Dark Matter 2004
- Turning Angel ,
Cage novel) , 2005
- Blood Memory 2005
- True Evil 2006
- Third Degree 2007
- The Devil's Punchbowl (Penn Cage
- The Death Factory: A Penn Cage Novella 2014 (Kindle
- Natchez Burning 2014
- The Bone Tree (to be published
as volume two of trilogy Natchez Burning)
above: Greg Iles, Oxford, MS. 2002. Photo by Nancy Jacobs
By Bahar Adeli (SHS) 2001 (SEE
Iles has gone from being an unknown writer from Natchez,
Mississippi, to the writer of eight New York Times
best-sellers since 1992. This nationally-acclaimed
Mississippi writer not only spends his time writing novels that
are full of suspense from to cover to cover, but he is also
a screenwriter and a talented musician. Even though
he spends much time writing novels, participating
in book signings, and writing the screen play for the upcoming
movie based on his book 24 Hours called
Trapped, Greg Iles also finds time to spend with
the most important people in his life: his wife, Carrie,
and two children, Madeline and Mark.
Iles was born in 1960 during the height of the Cold War in
Stuttgart, Germany, where his father was the head of the U.S.
Embassy medical clinic there (Padgett). He moved to the
United States in 1963 when he was three years old and spent
most of his life growing up in Natchez, Mississippi
(Baughn). There Iles, who graduated from Trinity High
School, was a National Merit finalist. Before writing
novels, his first love was music (Watkins 1A). He
earned about $30,000 a year playing the guitar while receiving
his English degree at the University of Mississippi, known as
Ole Miss, from which he graduated in 1983 (Padgett). Interestingly,
while at Ole Miss Greg Iles lived in the cabin where William
Faulkner and his brothers heard stories told by Mammy Callie,
Iles played in a band called Frankly Scarlet for
several years. After a disagreement with the band on New
Year's Eve (1990) in Mobile, Alabama, Iles decided he did not
want to be in the music business forever, so he decided to write
Iles's career as a writer probably began when he started writing
for eighteen hours a day (Watkins 9A). His first book
was a World War II thriller called Spandau Phoenix,
which was published in 1993. It immediately became
a New York Times bestseller. Iles's second
novel, published in 1995, was called Black Cross,
which was also a World War II thriller, and, became a New
York Times bestseller. Black Cross
received a Mississippi author's award for fiction after Iles
was nominated for the award by John Grisham. One of his
more famous thrillers, published in 1997, is Mortal Fear
(Baughn). Also a New York Times bestseller,
this novel is about an ordinary man who lives an extraordinary
life. 24 Hours is another of Iles's recent
novels which was published in 2000. Currently, Greg Iles,
along with Luis Mandoki, are taking his best-selling novel,
24 Hours, to the big screen The movie
is being made in Canada and will debut in 2002 (Shmitz).
In addition, Iles has just finished a new novel called
Dead Sleep, which was just published in
July of 2001 (Iles).
Alongside his successful writing career, Greg Iles is once
again practicing music when at home with his family (Baughn).
In Natchez, Iles is known not only as a writer, but also
as a husband to his wife Carrie, who is a dentist, and a great
father to his son Mark and daughter Madeline. Now that
music is back in his life,
Iles plans to make a CD with Kelly Pates, a singer from Jackson,
Mississippi, of tunes he created. Even though his career
as a writer is important to him, he also hopes that the music
industry will allow him to become as successful with his guitar
as he is with his novels (Watkins 9A). He is currently a member
of the band The Rock Bottom Remainders.
Hard work and determination have helped Greg Iles receive the
success he has today. His suspense-filled thrillers are
allowing this outstanding writer from Mississippi to rise quickly
to the top of the charts (Baughn). From music to writing
and now to making movies, Iles has shown the world that he is
outstanding at anything he does. With all the success
he has gained from his previous novels, and now with a new movie
based on his book 24 Hours called Trapped
and two new books, Dead Sleep and Sleep
No More, Greg Iles will be holding on to the top position
for a long time.
UPDATE: Greg Iles continues to play with the musical
group The Rock Bottom Remainders which includes
Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Amy Tan,
Mitch Albom, Roy Blount, Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark,
and James McBride. Roger McGuinn, co-founder of the Byrds, sometimes
also sits in. Iles has published six more
books including The Footprints
of God in 2003,
which was reprinted as Dark
Matter in 2004, Turning
Angel in 2005,
Blood Memory in 2005, True Evil in
2006, and Third Degree
in 2007. He and his wife Carrie have divorced.
nearly five years, Greg Iles is publishing his first new novel,
titled Natchez Burning. In 2011 Iles
was in a a car accident in which he was almost killed. He lost
part of his right leg and sustained other severe injuries. In
a letter to his readers, he states, "I have fought my way
back to health, and in the process I've written three novels
that form a trilogy about Penn Cage and his family. These are
very big books, and ambitious in every way. They transcend being
"thrillers," and are much more like The
Quiet Game than some of my other novels."
Volume One, Natchez Burning, is to
be published by William Morrow on April 29, 2014. In addition,
a novella for e-readers entitled The Death Factory
provides the resolution to the cliffhanger at the end of The
Devil's Punchbowl. He is now finishing The
Bone Tree, which will be Volume Two of the Natchez
Greg Iles recently became engaged. He and his son are working
on a short film documentary about some of the civil rights case
which were the inspiration for the Natchez Burning
trilogy. His children are now teenagers.
Iles writes in a variety of genres, keeping his readers guessing.
All have reached the bestseller list. Currently, he is even
working on a graphic novel called The Lost Century
about the contact between the Roman Empire and Taoist China.
The third and final book of the Natchez Burning
Trilogy will be titled Unwritten Laws.
A Review of Black
by Bahar Adeli(SHS) 2001
Iles's second novel, Black Cross, is one of the
best-selling historical thrillers in stores. Not only
is this remarkable novel intriguing, but I also interpreted
it as a bit philosophical because of the morals it is based
on and because of the brave way the characters put aside their
morals in order to save the lives of many people. As a
World War II thriller, this novel takes fiction and combines
it with true facts, making a stunning and mesmerizing novel
that is hard to put down. The main characters in this
novel are two men, a Jewish assassin and an American
pacifist doctor from Georgia who are sent to Germany in
order to save millions of lives. But in order to do so,
they must first sacrifice their own beliefs so that they can
work together on this very important mission.
The novel begins in the United States where after his grandparent's
funeral, Mark finds out about a long kept secret of his grandfather's.
A rabbi, Leibovitz, comes to him and tells him how his grandfather,
Dr. Mark McConnell, was actually one of the greatest heroes
of World War II. Next, a flashback reverts to World War
II where the British are planning an invasion in Europe later
on in the spring. Winston Churchill finds out that the
Germans have developed this deadly and very powerful poison
gas called Sarin, which is equivalent to a cobra strike to the
brain. Churchill, scared that the Germans will use this
gas to invade his army, recruits Mark McConnell, who is a chemical
engineer and a doctor, and Jonas Stern, a Zionist assassin,
to complete one of the most important missions in the history
of any war: preventing Hitler from using this poison nerve
gas. Along with the allies, Churchill develops a plan
to stop Hilter from using this lethal weapon by destroying the
secret laboratory hidden in a Nazi death camp. However,
if the plan goes as it should, then not only will the lab be
destroyed, but the hundreds of Jewish prisoners in the death
camp will also die.
Cross is an interesting book in many ways that other
books are not. Personally, I thought the flashback was
both interesting, suspenseful, and unique. In my own mind,
the book was playing like a movie because of the flashback.
Because the book would switch back and forth from the first-person
point of view of Dr. McConnell to third-person omniscient point
of view, it made the plot more interesting and at times gave
the reader a chance to come back to modern times from the horrific
scenes of savage cruelty in World War II . Not only was
the book fascinating, it was also informing. Some
of the incidents described at the concentration camps actually
occurred around fifty to sixty years ago.
Honestly, this is one of the best books I have read in a long
time. I liked some of the themes Iles supported in this
novel, such as the idea that sometimes we have to put aside
what we believe in for the betterment of others and for our
own survival . An example of this is the connection between
Dr. McConnell and the Jewish assassin when they were trying
to save the Jews. Another theme is that desperate times
require desperate measures. If the characters in this
novel had not sacrificed their own beliefs in order to save
others, the outcome would undoubtedly have been different.
A Review of Black Cross
by Dennis Rowe (SHS)
The novel Black Cross by Greg Iles is a fast-paced
historical thriller. A pacifist doctor and a Jewish assassin
are sent into the heart of Germany to fight their worst nightmare.
They must learn to change or millions of people might die from
a terrible evil.
The two main characters, Mark McConnell and Jonas Stern, are
complete opposites. They must come together and form a friendship
that will help them overcome the Germans. At the same time they
are fighting their own beliefs. Mark McConnell is a "pacifist
American doctor who ultimately comes to accept that he must
kill innocents for a greater good." Jonas Stern is a fanatical
Zionist assassin that learns "that only by showing mercy and
compassion can he bear to survive." They must come together
to form an alliance that will strike at Sarin, the last remaining
hope for the Germans. This is a gas created by Germans in a
remote SS concentration camp and in the final stage of testing.
The novel begins in America in the present. Mark's grandparents
have just died in a freak air crash. After the funeral Rabbi
Leibovitz comes to Mark and explains that his grandfather had
done more in World War II than just sit behind a desk. His grandfather,
also named Mark, became one of the greatest heros of World War
II and was awarded the Cross secretly by the English for his
actions. The novel now jumps back to that war where the English
are preparing to invade Europe in the Spring. It comes to the
attention of Winston Churchill that the Germans have a new gas
that can stop an army in its tracks called Sarin. Worried that
the Germans might use this new gas on the invading army in the
summer, Churchhill recruits Mark McConnell, a chemical engineer,
and Jonas Stern, an assassin, to partake in a mission neither
understands. They are sent to a secret camp in England to learn
the basics of what they need in their mission. From there they
move to the heart of Germany where, with the help of two women,
they plan their attack on Germany's most dangerous weapon.
Cross begins in the first chapter in the present
where it is in first-person point of view. It then jumps to
World War II where it is in third-person omniscient point of
view until the last chapter. In the last chapter it jumps back
to the present where it is again in first-person point of view.
The changes in the point of view make the book more interesting.There
are two major themes in this novel. One of them is desperate
times demand desperate measures and another is that one has
to change to survive. The title of the book is significant.
A black cross is placed on cans of Sarin to identify the gas.
The title also has another meaning. The Cross is awarded to
soldiers that show great valor and Mark receives one for valor.
The black also represents the death and destruction that came
with Mark's obtaining the award.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this novel. Black Cross is
a fast-paced and well-written novel. Greg Isles is a great Mississippi
writer as well as a great American writer. It was a pleasure
to read his novel.
Greg Iles (2001)
by Bahar Adeli
Note: Production on the film 24 Hours, based
on Iles's book of the same name, began in Vancouver, Canada,
in March, 2001, and finished in June, 2001. When
Greg Iles, who was on the set writing the screen play, returned
home, he responded to Bahar's questions below.
You were born in Germany when your father was in the U. S.
Embassy there. When did you move to the United States?
I moved to the US in 1963. I was 3 years old.
What are your parents' names? any siblings?
My father is Dr. Jerry Iles, an M.D., and my mother,
Betty Iles, was a teacher.
were your favorite subjects and areas you were good in?
My favorite subjects were English, History, Ethics, etc.
What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. And
I still haven't grown up!
Why did you major in English at Ole Miss?
I majored in English at Ole MIss, but I don't think that
contributed to my becoming a writer
I heard you played in a band called Frankly Scarlet, do you
think the band will ever be together again?
Frankly Scarlet will probably never reunite, though I
am still good friends with some of the members.
What's your favorite book?
My favorite books are All the King's Men, The Great Gatsby,
and the Honourable Schoolboy.
Besides playing the guitar, do you have any other pasttimes?
My hobbies are songwriting, thinking, and reading.
When did you get married to your wife Carrie?
I married my wife when I was 29. We were high school
sweethearts who got married ten years after high school.
How old are your children, Madeline and Mark?
Madeline is 7, and Mark is 4.
If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
If I were to be anything besides a writer, I would
be a film director.
If you could, please tell me a little about the new book you
have coming out in July.
My new novel is titled DEAD SLEEP. It is my first novel
to use a female protagonist, which was quite a challenge as
the novel is told in the first person. She is a Pulitzer prizewinning
war photographer haunted by the death of her twin sister, and
about her quest to learn the truth about her sister's death.
Is the movie 24 Hours like the book? If no, what's
As for 24 HOURS, the film, I wrote the screenplay, and
I have changed several things from the "book version" of the
story. However, because I have been so intimately involved with
the film, I feel that the movie may be better than the book,
or at least as good, anyway. (NOTE: The movie was renamed
Do you plan on making any of your other books into movies?
I do plan on making more films, but I'm not sure if I
will adapt my own novels--which are not very suited to the condensed
format of film--or write original screenplays, something I am
Do you have any surprises in store for your fans in the future
about you or your books or a movie? anything special?
Anything else you would like to add?
As for surprises, the novel I am beginning now explores
my views on religion, philosophy, and artificial intelligence--through
the revolution in quantum physics, quite a tall order since
it will still be classed as a "thriller."
Review of The Devil's Punchbowl
by Maggie Lowery Stevenson (Lemuria's Bookstore)
Reprinted with permission.
Greg Iles' The Devil's Punchbowl,
published in 2009, is a novel set in Natchez and Penn Cage
is now the mayor. In his quest to improve the Natchez public
schools and bring jobs back to Natchez, he has turned to casino
gambling like other Mississippi towns. There are now five
floating casinos along the river, but one boat, The Magnolia
Queen, is not the same and has a lot to hide. There have been
rumors that big players from Vegas have been coming to the
Mississippi backwater on private jets to gamble and to participate
in various “blood sports” such as dog fighting.
When an old friend of Penn’s brings him evidence, he
feels completely guilty for not being able to protect his
home town from these wicked ways. Soon Penn realizes that
if he is going to fight this corruption, he is going to be
on his own. Not knowing whom to trust in his own administration
or on the police force, Penn calls in some old friends for
help, Caitlin Masters, Danny McDavitt, Tom Cage and Walt Garrity.
These friends and some new friends made along the way realize
this is no ordinary enemy but one who has the ability to anticipate
and counter their every move.
This book is nonstop action–-full of plot twists–so
if you have a long “to do list,” do not start
this book before everything is done because you will not want
to stop reading until you are finished with The
Devil's Punchbowl, and then trust me, you will
RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE
Photos of Greg Iles taken
in the Grove at Ole Miss as he appeared on a Thacker Mountain
Radio broadcast on July 18, 2002. As
the evening progressed, it got darker and darker; and
there was no light on the stage.
All photos by Nancy Jacobs.
- Born in 1960 in Stuttgart, Germany
- 1963: Moved to Natchez, Mississippi, when he was
three years old
- Graduated from Trinity High School in 1979
- Played in a band called Frankly Scarlet during
- Graduated with a degree in English from the University of
Mississippi in 1983
- Married his wife Carrie at age 29
- Frankly Scarlet, his band, breaks up on New Year's
- Iles's daughter, Madeline, is born in 1991.
- Published his first book, Spandau Phoenix,
- Published Black Cross in 1995
- Iles's son, Mark, is born in 1996.
- Published Mortal Fear in 1997
- Published Quiet Game in 2000
- Published 24 Hours in 2000
- Dead Sleep, published July 2001
- Writes screenplay Trapped based on his novel
24 Hours, filmed in Canada in 2001 and
released in 2002
- Sleep No More published in 2002
- The Footprints of God
published in 2003
- Dark Matter (new title for The
Footprints of God) in 2004
- Turning Angel and Blood
Memory published 2005
- True Evil published by Scribner,
December 12, 2006
- Third Degree published in 2007
- The Devil's Punchbowl, 2009
Greg Iles's own personal web site with a synopsis of each
of his novels, a biography (which includes a video clip of Greg
singing Paperback Writer with The Rock Bottom Remainders.
reviews and discusses Dead Sleep
about Greg Iles on Library Thing.
a link to the Rock Bottom emainders on You-Tube. Greg Iles
plays guitar and sings Paperback Writer.
Baughn, Alice J. "Bestselling author Greg Iles changes his
style, not his pizzazz."
The Sun Herald. 1997, http://www.sunherald.com/living/docs/iles0216.htm>
(22 April 2001)
Iles, Greg. Black Cross. New York City: Penguin
Books USA Inc., 1995.
Iles, Greg. "Re: Mississippi Writer's Project." Email
to Bahar Adeli from author Greg Iles. Thu, 24 May 2001.
Iles, Greg. Greg Iles's Website. <http://www.gregiles.com>
(22 April 2001)
Padgett, John B."Greg Iles." The Mississippi Writer's Page.
University of Mississippi
(22 April 2001)
Shmitz, Greg D. Upcoming Movies. http://www.upcomingmovies.com/24hours.html>
(22 April 2001)
Watkins, Billy."Natchez author now just strums for fun." Clarion
Ledger , 1A-9A. 4 Sept. 1999.