Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancée, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi’s most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn’t the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.
The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage—who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him—is either to make a devil’s bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles’ downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years . . . a place of terrifying evil known only as “the bone tree.”
- There’s a certain privilege in being able to read books in a series back to back: there’s no wait time between the tomes and you slip easily from one book to the other. I loved that The Bone Tree, after a prologue which provided a catching up, started right where things ended in Natchez Burning. Going straight from one book to the other felt smooth, nothing disjointed there. The story continued, period.
- As mentioned, there’s a nice prologue that does a good job of getting you caught up if you haven’t read the first book (and probably acts as a good reminder if you’d read the first book a while back), but seriously, if you haven’t read Natchez Burning yet, you really should start from there. And as a bonus, you’d have that luxury of slipping smoothly from book one straight into book two.
- As with the first book, at times the tension and suspense in The Bone Tree gets almost too much for me. And, as with the first book, I find myself having to skip ahead to the end of a chapter so I can calm down a little and go back to reading the chapter the way it should be read.
- There’s an added plot line in this book about the JFK assassination that I’m still not too sure about. On the one hand, I’m finding this plot line quite interesting. On the other hand, I’m still uncertain whether it’s a good fit with the main plot line surrounding the unsolved civil rights movement murders.
- The writing in this second book is like the writing in the first book: the language is evocative and succeeds in pulling you into the hot languidness of the Deep South.
- Like the first book, the violence is brutal, and all the more chilling because of its factual foundations. There is a seamless melding of fiction with history and despite the thrilleresque aspect of the plot, those facts, that history, is something you just don’t forget as you’re reading.
- And the bad guy? He is so, so, so Evil.
- I guess my main criticism so far is that sometimes some of the main characters do some pretty stupid things, things that make you want to take them by the shoulders and yell, “What on earth are you thinking? Stop it, and do the smart thing!”
Again, a huge thanks to TLC Book Tours, as I’ve been wanting to read this series for ages now, and the opportunity to participate in this readalong/book tour gave me the push I needed.
And now for the critical linking bit!