Are you looking for how to read the Greg Iles books in order? Maybe you’ve recently discovered his gripping books and are uncertain where to go next. Rest easy, because we’ve got you covered.
We’ve set out below a clear plan of action with all the different categories of his books. We’ve organized his books by publication date and category, as well as delving into chronology, so all of the work is done for you. Just dig in and enjoy!
Who is Greg Iles?
Since 1993, Greg Iles has been the writer of 17 New York Times bestsellers. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, is a thriller about the notorious Nazi war criminal, Rudolf Hess. His books are published in more than 35 countries and have been translated into 25 languages.
Iles was born in 1960 in Stuttgart, Germany, but grew up in Natchez, Mississippi. He went to the Trinity Episcopal Day School, then graduated from “Ole Miss” — the University of Mississippi — in 1983.
Iles still lives in Natchez, Mississippi with his wife Caroline and has three children. The setting of Mississippi and the American South is the backdrop for most of his works.
After sustaining life-threatening injuries in a traffic accident on US Route 61 near Natchez, he wrote three volumes of the Penn Cage books while recovering.
Before he became a bestselling author, Iles was a guitarist, singer, and songwriter in the band Frankly Scarlet.
Currently, Iles is still a member of the lit-rock group Rock Bottom Remainders, along with other authors like Matt Groening, Stephen King, and Ridley Pearson. He co-authored his only non-fiction book to date, Hard Listening, in conjunction with the other members of the group.
A Brief Introduction to Penn Cage
Penn Cage is the fictional prosecutor-turned-writer created by Greg Iles in the series of the same name.
Cage first appears in The Quiet Game, which was published in 1999. When we meet Penn Cage in this book he is at Disney World with his 4-year-old daughter, Annie. We learn that his wife, Sarah, died seven months earlier.
As a prosecuting attorney in Houston, Texas, Cage was involved in the trial and subsequent conviction of white supremacist, Arthur Lee Hanratty. This earns Cage the enmity of John Portman, the fictional FBI director. In the aftermath of Sarah’s death, Cage subsequently decides to return to his parents and his childhood home in Natchez, Mississippi, to process his and Annie’s grief.
Greg Iles Books in Order
Penn Cage Books in Order of Publication
The Penn Cage series can be divided into two trilogies following the same titular character. The first three books listed below compose the first trilogy, then Greg Iles published the novella distinguishing the two eras, before launching into the second trilogy with Natchez Burning.
A new installment following Penn Cage is forthcoming. It is set 15 years after the events of the Natchez Burning trilogy and is expected to be published in September 2022.
- The Quiet Game (1999)
- Turning Angel (2005)
- The Devil’s Punchbowl (2009)
- The Death Factory (2014) (Novella)
- Natchez Burning (2014)
- The Bone Tree (2015)
- Mississippi Blood (2017)
- Southern Man (Expected publication: September 6, 2022)
Mississippi Books in Order
While all of the below books take place in Mississippi or New Orleans within the same world, according to Greg Iles you can enjoy these books in any order.
However, there are also threads connecting this series with Iles’s Penn Cage series. Penn Cage’s father, Tom Cage, appears in Blood Memory as a supporting character. Iles recommends reading Blood Memory after you read The Quiet Game, however, in order to better appreciate Tom.
World War II Books
There are two ways you can read Greg Iles’s World War II books. Firstly is in order of publication, with Spandau Phoenix taking place in what was present day and Black Cross jumping back to wartime of the Second World War.
However, the other way to read the World War II books is in chronological order. Interestingly, this is the order that Greg Iles’s recommends to first time readers.
As it is a duology, the difference between publication and chronological order for Iles’s World War II books is a simple swap.
Greg Iles Books in Order – Standalones
- Third Degree (1996)
- The Footprints of God (2003)
- True Evil (2006)
- Hard Listening (2013) (Non-Fiction) (Anthology)
- Cemetery Road (2019)
Summary of Greg Iles Books in Order
World War II Books
1. Black Cross
It is January 1944. Allied troops prepare for D-Day, while Nazi scientists are developing a lethal nerve gas to wipe out the invasion force.
Two determined men are dispatched to get into the concentration camp where the deadly gas is being tested on human beings. Their objective is to destroy every trace of the gas and the Nazi scientists — no matter how many lives may be lost…including their own.
2. Spandau Phoenix
When Spandau Prisoner Number 7, Rudolph Hess, died in 1987 he left behind a secret diary which sparked renewed interest in his 1941 flight to England.
So what is in the Spandau Diary that makes all the major secret intelligence agencies in the world want it? Why is a beautiful, brave woman kidnapped and tortured to get hold of it? And why should it trigger a violent chain of deception and death across the globe?
1. Mortal Fear
By day, Harper Cole is a commodities trader. By night, he is a systems operator for an anonymous online erotic service catering to the rich and famous. But now, despite the system’s up-to-the-minute security, the network has been penetrated and six celebrity female clients are dead.
Immediately, Harper is the chief suspect. To clear himself he has to lure the killer into the open by putting everything and everyone he loves in desperate danger.
2. 24 Hours
Successful Jackson doctor, Will Jennings, has a thriving practice; a beautiful wife, Karen; and a beloved 5-year-old daughter. But Will and his family are being targeted by a psychopath who has devised the perfect crime — a fail-safe kidnapping…
Except this time, he’s picked the wrong family to terrorize. Because Will and Karen aren’t going to watch helplessly as he victimizes them. And they aren’t going to let him get away with it.
3. Dead Sleep
Jordan Glass, a photojournalist on a well-earned vacation, wanders into a Hong Kong art museum and is puzzled to find fellow patrons eyeing her with curiosity. Minutes later, she stumbles upon a gallery containing a one-artist exhibition called “The Sleeping Women,” a mysterious series of paintings that has caused a sensation in the world of modern art.
Collectors have come to believe that the canvases depict female nudes not in sleep but in death, and they command millions at auction. When Jordan approaches the last work in the series, she freezes. The face in the painting seems to be her own.
This unsettling event hurls her back into a nightmare she has fought desperately to put behind her — for, in fact, the face in the painting belongs not to Jordan but to her twin sister, murdered one year ago. At the urging of the FBI, Jordan becomes both hunter and hunted in a duel with the anonymous artist, a gifted murderer who knows the secret history of Jordan’s family, and truths that even she has never had the courage to face.
4. Sleep No More
John Waters is a successful businessman and a happy family man. But his life comes crashing down around him with one word from a beautiful stranger: “Soon.”
Suddenly, he is face to face with a memory from his past — of an obsession that he thought he had escaped. One that now plunges him into the darkest side of love and passion…
5. Blood Memory
Suddenly falling victim to panic attacks and blackouts at murder scenes, acclaimed forensics expert Cat Ferry is suspended from her FBI task force. Back in Natchez, her Mississippi hometown, Cat unearths disturbing details that could link her father’s murder to current deaths in New Orleans.
But then Cat is also not quite what she seems — she has a secret life. Plagued by nightmares, and deeply involved with a married homicide detective, Cat holds herself together with iron nerves and alcohol, using her work as a substitute for life.
Only by finding this remorseless killer can Cat save her sanity — and her life.
Penn Cage Books
1. The Quiet Game
When recently widowed Penn Cage leaves Houston with his young daughter and returns to his hometown seeking peace, he finds something very different. Natchez, Mississippi, is the jewel of the antebellum South. It is a city of old secrets and older money.
Upon learning that his father is the victim of blackmail, Penn finds himself reopening the most highly-charged murder case in the town’s history. He searches for the evidence that could bring down the judge who nearly destroyed his father years ago.
Then, as the town closes ranks against him, Penn finds help in Caitlin Masters, a young newspaper publisher. Together they embark on a deadly quest to find answers to one of the darkest chapters of American history. It is a quest that pits them against the FBI, a band of brothers still fiercely guarding the tainted legacy of J. Edgar Hoover.
But Penn’s most dangerous journey must be made alone. As he dives into the abiding mystery of his own past, into the mind and heart of a woman he lost twenty years ago, and who still has the power to save or destroy him.
2. Turning Angel
Houston prosecutor Penn Cage has just won the most dangerous case of his career by putting white supremacist, Arthur Lee Hanratty, in jail. With his beloved wife Sarah dead, Penn decides to raise his daughter Annie in the safe environment of his childhood home in Natchez, Mississippi.
But is anywhere really safe from long-buried secrets…or murder? And can Penn’s friend, Drew Elliot, possibly be involved in the murder of prep school student, Kate Townsend?
3. The Devil’s Punchbowl
As a prosecutor in Houston, Penn Cage sent seasoned killers to death row. However, it is as the mayor of his hometown, Natchez, Mississippi, that he will have to face down his most dire threat yet. Lucrative blood sports are taking place under the putative cover of a casino steamboat, the “Magnolia Queen.”
When a friend bringing him evidence is murdered, Penn is hellbent on finding those responsible. But with the local authorities corrupted by big money, Penn has only himself and old friends like Caitlin Masters, Danny McDavitt, and Walt Garrity to depend on.
3.5 The Death Factory
The Death Factory is a novella that sets the scene for the next three books in the Penn Cage series.
Tom Cage, Penn’s father, summons him to the ER, where he’s been taken after a heart attack, to hear his dying declaration. But when Penn gets there, his father denies having done so.
This takes Penn back to an alarming case in Houston when he worked in a DA’s office called the Death Factory because they sent so many killers to death row. While he was caring for his terminally ill wife, a deeply troubled forensic technician brought him evidence of a crime lab that was in chaos, which could invalidate past convictions. In these most harrowing of times, Penn has to find a way to halt the machinations of the death factory…
4. Natchez Burning
Natchez Burning marks a turning point in the series as it is almost a second trilogy following Penn Cage.
Penn Cage’s father, Dr. Tom Cage, stands accused of murdering Viola Turner, an African-American nurse with whom he worked way back in the 1960s. But as Penn investigates, he uncovers a long-hidden conspiracy of murder and greed linked to a brutal sect of the Ku Klux Klan.
Pitted against the most influential men in the state, Penn faces a well-nigh impossible choice. As an honorable man, what must he choose: His father, or justice?
5. The Bone Tree
Former prosecutor Penn Cage is living the darkest nightmare of his life. That’s because the death of his father’s African-American nurse, Viola Turner, has made Dr. Tom Cage a fugitive from justice. Meanwhile, Penn’s search for his father and the reasons for his father’s flight, have brought Penn into conflict with the Double Eagles, a violent offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan.
As Penn doggedly follows his father’s trail, he must rely on allies whose aims differ greatly from his own. And will all leads ultimately take him to the infamous Bone Tree, a legendary killing site?
6. Mississippi Blood
Penn Cage’s father, Dr. Tom Cage, is about to stand trial for murder. The murderous Double Eagle offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan will stop at nothing to make sure Tom Cage takes the fall for their past atrocities — or goes to an early grave with everything he knows…
In his battle to discover the truth about his own family’s history and one of the darkest times in the South, Penn has to risk all that he has left — his life.
1. Third Degree
Over the course of a single day, Laurel Shields’s entire life will change forever. That is if she can live through a most frightening ordeal.
She ends an affair, but only to discover that she is pregnant. Then, on her return home, she walks into a living nightmare.
Faced with her betrayal, her husband has morphed into a hostile stranger teetering on the brink of violence. As armed police set up a rescue outside, she finds herself having to negotiate the deadly line between truth and betrayal. Or can Laurel protect her lover’s identity long enough for him to save her and her children?
2. The Footprints of God
The Footprints of God was also published as Dark Matter in Australia.
Behind the innocuous walls of a research facility in North Carolina, the scientists of Project Trinity are working on a supercomputer that will surpass the power of the human mind. Dr. David Tennant has been appointed by the President to ensure ethical standards are adhered to in the project.
But then a fellow scientist is murdered for refusing to go along with the Project’s ultimate goal. This comprises nothing less than a merger between a human mind and the computer which will produce a machine of unbridled and unstoppable power.
Unable to reach the President, and not knowing whom to trust while haunted by bizarre dreams, David and his psychiatrist, Dr. Rachel Weiss, must flee for their lives.
3. True Evil
Recently married Dr. Chris Shepard, a Southern doctor, meets his new patient, Alex Morse. She is an attractive young woman with a scarred face. And as it turns out she is also an FBI undercover agent who has come to Natchez, Mississippi, to expose a killer.
The spouses of several clients of a Natchez divorce attorney have died inexplicably. Included amongst those is Alex’s own brother-in-law, and now her sister is also dead.
Agent Morse’s next revelation rocks Dr. Shepard to his core — his own beautiful wife has been to see this attorney only a week before. Now Chris Shepard really has only two choices — help Alex Morse to try and catch a killer, or possibly become a victim himself…
4. Cemetery Road
Successful journalist Marshall McEwan finds out that his father has fallen sick with a terminal illness. Despite his oath that he will never go home again, he decides to return to his childhood home in Bienville, Mississippi.
Meanwhile in Bienville, Jet Turner, his long-ago love, has married into the influential family of powerful patriarch Max Matheson, and Marshall’s family’s newspaper is on the point of collapse. However, negotiations for a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill seem to promise economic hope for the town.
But when two murders shock the town, Marshall and Jet discover that there are destructive secrets in Bienville…
Final Thoughts on Greg Iles Books in Order
The way Greg Iles overcame the extremely serious accident he fell victim to in 2011 attests to his character, formidable talent, and commitment to his writing and music. He also welcomes fans staying in touch on social media!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the Greg Iles books in order and have found a new book to pick up.
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