True Evil by Greg Iles

After dribbling a single into left field with Turning Angel, Greg Iles hits a triple with his latest novel, True Evil. He’s a savvy author, and he does his homework so the plot doesn’t have glaring problems with details that professionals (in this book, medical professionals) will easily recognize. And not only does he make true-blue heroes believable in these Mississippi-based adventure stories, his criminals are debauched fiends! True Evil is no exception. A troubled young FBI agent’s sister dies after a stroke; and on her deathbed, the sister accuses her husband of the murder. Alex, the FBI agent, goes it alone as she tries to find out why and how her brother-in-law could have arranged such a ghastly demise. In the course of her investigations, she discovers a serial killer is at work–and the next victim is Natchez, Mississippi native Dr. Chris Shepherd. Together, this pair unravels a chain of grotesque crimes that threatens to destroy their lives. It’s an exciting read, and you’ll put off doing other things in your day so you can get to the slightly overwrought Hollywood conclusion. True Evil’s midsection needs some editing, as we get bogged down with Alex trying to convince Shepherd that he’s in real danger, but this is a small concern in an overall quite satisfying read. Mr. Iles really seems to understand the horrible power of betrayal, and his books tap deeply into the pain and hurt that are found when an intimate relationship turns ugly. There is psychological depth to the central characters in True Evil, and real human weaknesses are treated sympathetically and thoughtfully. This book isn’t perfect; but as a whole, it’s a fun read filled with greed, lust, sex, murder, small-town heroes, and menacing villains.

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