Roam the Iles

Here are two perfect people. Drew Elliott is a handsome, wealthy 45-year-old Southern doctor (and Rhodes Scholar, of course). Kate Townsend is a blond-haired, blue-eyed, brilliant, not-yet-18, half-English tennis phenom. But if their lives were really perfect, Greg Iles's new novel Turning Angel wouldn't have a plot, would it? Turns out poor Kate dies before page two of the book. And Dr. Elliott was screwing her — some might call it committing statutory rape — before she died.

But then, Iles is more interested in people than in plots. "My books are not about who did it," he says. "They're about why they did it. It's easy to condemn people for things they do, looking at them as an outsider. But in five years, we've found ourselves in the exact same spot."

That's why Iles revisits — reluctantly, he confesses — character Penn Cage, the golden-boy attorney from his best-seller The Quiet Game, to tell the story of Elliott and Townsend in Angel. "At first blush, it looks like something pretty reprehensible that Kate and Drew had going on. But through Penn, Drew's friend and an outsider to the story, you get a different perspective."

Often compared to John Grisham and Tom Clancy, Iles says he's flattered by the comparisons but wants to stretch the boundaries of what he writes and how his readers perceive him. According to Iles, the only common thread in all of his books — which range from World War II thrillers to child-abuse dramas — is that they probe the depths of the human psyche. Iles reads from and discusses Turning Angel .
Thu., Jan. 5, 6:30 p.m.


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