Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sex and Violence and Drugs...Oh My!

Turning Angel by Greg Iles (2006, 512 pgs) is fast-paced, action-packed thriller. And Greg Iles seems to want to take on a whole host of hot button topics! Penn Cage is a widower and a former-lawyer-turned author that lives in Natchez, MS with his daughter Annie. Natchez is the town in which he grew up, but it has changed a lot over the years. The economic outlook is rather bleak, with many business closing their doors or pulling out of town. The schools aren't great. And worst of all, there seems to be a lot more drugs in town than ever before. But when Kate Townsend is murdered, the town is stunned. Kate is a seventeen-year-old high school Senior that is beautiful, intelligent, athletic and Harvard-bound. But Penn gets a double shock when his lifelong friend, Dr. Drew Elliot asked Penn to represent him. Drew, a forty-old-physician, was having an affair with Kate. But it was more than an affair. Drew was seriously going to leave his pain-killer addicted wife for Kate and move to Massachusetts with her when she left for school. Drew himself was once the town's golden child. An exceptional athletic, he became a doctor. Not only was he just a doctor, but he took trips to third-world countries to provide free-medical treatment. He was handsome, smart, and every one's friend. He was the kind of man every woman wanted and every man wanted to be.

District Attorney Shad Johnson is on a mission. That mission is to move up the ladder, stepping on whoever he has to in the process. He wants to be Mayor. When an anonymous phone call is made to his office about Drew and Kate's affair, Shad immediately considers Drew the number one suspect. It is clear that his intentions are more for politics than for justice. But when the news of the affair comes out, Drew quickly becomes the town pariah. But Kate wasn't the sweet innocent she made herself out to be. It seems there is a link between her and the town's biggest drug dealer, Cyrus White.

This book tries to pose us with questions that there are not a lot of answers for. Can a relationship between a seventeen-year-old and a forty-year-old be anything other than sexual? Should 2 people with such a wide gap in age be allowed to be together? Can different races work together for the good of a town instead of trying to pull it apart? Iles gives us some heavy race issues to deal with in this book as well.

I liked this book, but there were a couple of things that made this a good read instead of a great one. It is definitely a page-turner. I read through it like I couldn't get enough. But I didn't find Drew to be a very likeable character. Neither was Kate. And in the end, I just didn't care what happened to him. I didn't have a lot of sympathy for Drew's wife, Ellen either. I also thought that Iles painted a very bleak picture of today's teens. I realize that they are more advanced today than they were when I was in high school (and NO, it wasn't THAT long ago!), but I think he really exaggerated the over-sexed and over-drugged kids. At least I hope so!! 3.75/5


Literary Feline said...

Thank you for the great review, Stephanie! I hope to read The Quiet Game sometime in the next few months. I've only read one other Greg Iles book (Sleep No More) and enjoyed it. Have you read The Quiet Game?

Stephanie said...

Thanks! I read Sleep No More as well! Strange plot, but I couldn't put it down! I have not read the Quiet Game, but I know the main charater is the same as this one.

Chris said...

Great review! I'll have to read it to have a dicussion with you. I think there is a link between econmics and teen sex/drugs. When the economy here went in the dumper, the teen pregnancy rates went up.

Backcountry Muse said...

Nice job, Stephanie! I can see a Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer badge in your future!

Paul Weiss