Mississippi writer Greg
Iles is best known for his thrillers, which have drawn rave reviews
from readers, critics, and writers, including Stephen King and John
Iles was born at
the height of the Cold War in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father
ran the U.S. Embassy medical clinic. He graduated from the University
of Mississippi in 1983.
He published his first novel, Spandau
Phoenix, in 1993. In the rubble of Spandau Prison in Berlin,
the diary of Nazi war criminal Rudolph Hess is found, a diary which
explains the secret of Hess and threatens to plunge the world into
chaos. The novel became a New York Times bestseller.
Black Cross, his second
novel, was published in 1995 and like the earlier one is a historical
thriller. Set during World War II, it tells the story of a new Nazi
weapon that could change the tide of the war in Hitler’s favor,
unless a dangerous mission behind enemy lines succeeds. The novel
won the Mississippi Author’s Award for Fiction.
With his third novel, Mortal
Fear, published in 1997, Iles shifts from historical thrillers
to a much more modern device, the Internet. In the novel, Harper
Cole is by day a successful commodities trader living quietly in
the Mississippi Delta; by night, however, he is the the sys-op of
an erotic online service catering to rich and powerful figures who
cherish their privacy. When female clients begin to drop off the
service, Cole suspects something is wrong, but when one of those
clients, a world famous writer, is murdered in New Orleans, he asks
the police to check on those women. All of the women, it turns out,
had been murdered, and Cole is named as the principal suspect.
As the killer, a brilliant psychopath
who alters his modus operandi for each killing, successfully sidesteps
every effort by the FBI to catch him, Harper Cole realizes he must
draw the killer into the open to prevent his own arrest for the
murders. Drawing inspiration from a real-life lover from his past
and from a dark, terrible secret he harbors, he goes online to impersonate
a potential victim, and in the process endangers everyone he cares
In prose that is both articulate
and literate, Iles is beguiling and suspenseful in this twisting,
turning plot. Of particular interest in the novel is Iles’
surehanded depiction of the online world of “chat” rooms
it affords a tantalizing glimpse into a means of communication,
if not a lifestyle, that can be sordid, scintillating, and sinister
all at once. While it may be that his villain, Byronic almost to
a fault, is somewhat unrealistic and over-the-top, Iles invests
a great deal of depth and complexity in the central character of
Harper Cole, who, it turns out, bears some resemblance to Iles.
Both live in the Mississippi Delta, both are savvy Internet users,
and both (as Iles says at his web
site) are ex-musicians.
Since then, Iles has published The
Quiet Game (1999), 24 Hours (2000), Dead Sleep
(2001), and Sleep No More (2003). His next novel, The
Footprints of God, is scheduled to be released in the summer
Greg Iles lives with his wife and
two children in Natchez, Mississippi.
Related Links & Info
Iles first novel, Spandau Phoenix (1993), was a New
York Times Bestseller.
His second novel, Black Cross (1995), won the Mississippi
Author’s Award for Fiction. Click on image to read the
His most recent novel, Mortal Fear (1997), is set primarily
in the Mississippi Delta. Click
here to read an excerpt.
Go to the Natchez Convention
and Visitors Bureau
- Spandau Phoenix. New York: Dutton, 1993.
- Black Cross. New York: Dutton, 1995.
- Mortal Fear. New York: Dutton, 1997.
- The Quiet Game. New York: Dutton, 1999.
- 24 Hours. New York: Putnam, 2000.
- Dead Sleep. New York: Putnam, 2001.
- Sleep No More. New York: Putnam, 2002.
- The Footprints of God. New York: Scribner, 2003.
- Trapped. Screenplay by Greg Iles.Based on the novel 24 Hours,
by Iles. Dir. Luis Mandoki. Columbia Pictures/Mandolin Entertainment,
Articles and Book Reviews:
- Baugh, Alice Jackson. “Bestselling
author Greg Iles changes his style, not his pizazz.” Sun
Herald Online. 1997.
- Keith, Don Lee. “Terminal Case: Greg Iles Thrills and Chills
with a Tale of Murder on the Net.” New Orleans Times-Picayne
(16 February 1997): D7.
- Keith, Don Lee. “Turning up the Heat: Former New Orleanian Greg
Iles on Sex and Violence in Today’s Fiction.” New Orleans
Times-Picayne (15 February 1997): E1.
- Klausner, Harriet. Rev.
of Mortal Fear. Ed’s Internet Book Book Review:
- Larson, Susan. “Great Escape.” Rev. of Spandau Phoenix,
by Greg Iles. New Orleans Times-Picayune (9 May 1993): E7.
- Larson, Susan. “Writing a Thrill a Minute.” New Orleans
Times-Picayune (9 May 1993): D1.
- Stasio, Marily. “Crime.” Rev. of Mortal Fear, et
al. The New York Times Book Review (16 February 1997): 28.
- Wasserman, Julian. “'Cross’ Purposes.” Rev.
of Black Cross, by Greg Iles. New Orleans Times-Picayune
(15 January 1995): E7.
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