"If you wanted to kill your spouse and get away with it, you had to do something truly ingenious: something that wouldn't even be perceived as murder. And that was the service that Andrew Rusk had found a way to provide. Like any quality product, it did not come cheap. Nor did it come quickly. And perhaps most important of all, it was not for those with weak constitutions. Demand was high, of course, but few people were truly suitable clients. It took a deep-rooted hatred to watch your spouse die in agony, knowing that you had brought about that pain. But on the other hand, some people bore up remarkably well."
With these words, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles returns to his trademark Southern milieu in this terrifying thriller, an unnerving tale of evil lurking beneath the veneer of idyllic suburban life. Brimming with the masterful suspense and intense psychological drama that made Turning Angel, Blood Memory, and The Quiet Game bestsellers, True Evil tells the chilling story of a divorce attorney who may be orchestrating the deaths of his clients' spouses, bringing new meaning to the phrase "'til death do us part."
Dr. Chris Shepard is thirty-six years old, newly married, and well on his way to a perfect life. Or so he believes. But that future is forever cast into doubt the day Special Agent Alexandra Morse walks into his office and drops a bombshell: Dr. Shepard's beautiful new wife is plotting his murder. Shepard is so shocked that he almost throws Agent Morse out of his office. Yet once he is alone, doubt begins to gnaw at him. Paranoia magnifies the small cracks in his marital relationship, and soon he can have no peace unless he knows the truth. When Agent Morse reappears, Chris agrees to act as bait to help her unravel the divorce lawyer's scheme, which may already have cost nine unsuspecting spouses their lives.
At the center of the mystery lies a maddeningly simple question: If these people really were murdered, why can't the FBI prove it? Rigorous autopsies have uncovered no forensic evidence of foul play, and the police believe no crimes have occurred. As Dr. Shepard and Agent Morse struggle against an invisible adversary, Shepard realizes that he's working with a desperate woman. The reason: the killer's last known victim was Alex Morse's sister, who from her deathbed accused her husband of murder and extracted a vow that Alex save her ten-year-old nephew from his father. This has driven Alex to risk both her life and her career to fulfill that vow. But Chris Shepard soon feels desperation of his own. As he probes his wife's hidden past, he is confronted by the probability that the woman he loves wants him dead.
He has adopted her son and given her everything he has to give, and yet somewhere out there, a killer with the brilliance to outwit the top forensic scientists in the world is closing in on him.
Starred Review. Smooth prose, psychological depth and crafty plotting lift bestseller Iles's latest suspense thriller, which puts a fresh twist on a familiar theme-the cat-and-mouse game between an FBI agent and a fiendishly-clever serial killer. One personal tragedy after another has struck Alexandra Morse, a rising star in the FBI who specializes in hostage negotiation: her father's shooting death in a robbery, her mother's diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer, and a misstep on the job that left her face scarred and a fellow agent dead. Now Alex's sister, Grace, lies dying in a Jackson, Miss., hospital after suffering a stroke. Alex arrives from Washington just in time to hear Grace say that her husband has murdered her. After Grace's death, Alex learns that Dr. Eldon Tarver, a brilliant scientist in need of funds for research into developing a biological superweapon, has teamed with a Mississippi divorce attorney who offers select clients the opportunity to avoid a protracted court fight by arranging for their spouses to die. When Alex identifies the next intended victim, Dr. Chris Shepard, she goes undercover as one of the idealistic doctor's patients and soon finds herself in a race against Tarver as well as her own superiors, who have not sanctioned her investigation. This pulse-pounder is sure to be another bestseller for Iles (Turning Angel). -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Good read. As a new Iles fan, I'll continue to look for more.
Posted January 23, 2010 by Jeannie , TexasI'm a new Iles reader. Have read several of his novels, just finished True Evil. It was a good read. However, it wasn't the breathtaking thriller I expected. Several parts of the book were expected, a little too much detail, where more action was due. These points notwithstanding, I wasn't ready to stop ending when I reached the end!!
Iles writing and imagination is more prefered to me than Patterson or Connolly. I will be on the look out for any new novel from Iles.
2 . An excellent thriller
Posted November 02, 2009 by P. Ryan , Upstate NYThis book starts off with a chapter or two of telling rather than showing, which had me worried there for a little while, but then it picked up and turned into a terrific thriller--high stakes and a "can it be stopped?" plot. The protagonist is a female FBI agent trying, among other things, to help a young doctor whose wife may or may not have arranged to have him die of cancer. The ultimate villain! Smart, conscienceless, the perfect kick-ass sociopath.
3 . Greg Isles doing what he does best
Posted May 29, 2009 by Doctor My Eyes , Scottsdale, ArizonaThis is another very solid effort from an author who has yet to receive the mass appeal that his writing deserves. The characters are three-dimensional, with flaws and scars (some literal and some figurative). The storyline is well-crafted, and the medical science is interesting and believable. The antagonists give a new meaning to the term "cold hard killers," strange bedfellows who work closely but only actually see each other a handful of times. Agent Morse, in a definitive "boy [girl] who cried wolf" role, is unrelenting in her efforts to save a stranger from being the next victim, while struggling with her own demons and tragedies. "True Evil" is an intelligent thriller, and Greg Isles is a writer who respects his audience.
December 12, 2006
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Excerpt from True Evil by Greg Iles
Alex Morse charged through the lobby of the new University Medical Center like a doctor to a code call, but she was no doctor. She was a hostage negotiator for the FBI. Twenty minutes earlier, Alex had deplaned from a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jackson, Mississippi, a flight prompted by her older sister's sudden collapse at a Little League baseball game. This year had been plagued by injury and death, and there was more to come -- Alex could feel it.
Sighting the elevators, she checked the overhead display and saw that a car was descending. She hit the call button and started bouncing on her toes. Hospitals, she thought bitterly. She'd practically just gotten out of one herself. But the chain of tragedy had started with her father. Five months ago Jim Morse had died in this very hospital, after being shot during a robbery. Two months after that, Alex's mother had been diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. She had already outlived her prognosis, but wasn't expected to survive the week. Then came Alex's accident. And now Grace --
A bell dinged softly, and the elevator opened.
A young woman wearing a white coat over street clothes leaned against the rear wall in a posture of absolute exhaustion. Intern, Alex guessed. She'd met enough of them during the past month. The woman glanced up as Alex entered the car, then looked down. Then she looked up again. Alex had endured this double take so many times since the shooting that she no longer got angry. Just depressed.
"What floor?" asked the young woman, raising her hand to the panel and trying hard not to stare.
"Neuro ICU," said Alex, stabbing the 4 with her finger.
"I'm going down to the basement," said the intern, who looked maybe twenty-six -- four years younger than Alex. "But it'll take you right up after that."
Alex nodded, then stood erect and watched the glowing numbers change above her head. After her mother's diagnosis, she'd begun commuting by plane from Washington, D.C. -- where she was based then -- to Mississippi to relieve Grace, who was struggling to teach full-time and also to care for their mother at night. Unlike J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, the modern Bureau tried to be understanding about family problems, but in Alex's case the deputy director had made his position clear: time off to attend a funeral was one thing, regularly commuting a thousand miles to be present for chemotherapy was another. But Alex had not listened. She'd bucked the system and learned to live without sleep. She told herself she could hack the pressure, and she did -- right up until the moment she cracked. The problem was, she hadn't realized she'd cracked until she caught part of a shotgun blast in her right shoulder and face. Her vest had protected the shoulder, but her face was still an open question.
For a hostage negotiator, Alex had committed the ultimate sin, and she'd come close to paying the ultimate price. Because the shooter had fired through a plate-glass partition, what would have been a miraculous escape (being grazed by a couple of pellets that could have blown her brains out but hadn't) became a life-altering trauma. A blizzard of glass tore through her cheek, sinuses, and jaw, lacerating her skin and ripping away tissue and bone. The plastic surgeons had promised great things, but so far the results were less than stellar. They'd told her that in time the angry pink worms would whiten (they could do little to repair the "punctate" depressions in her cheek), and that laymen wouldn't even notice the damage. Alex wasn't convinced. But in the grand scheme of things, what did vanity matter? Five seconds after she was shot, someone else had paid the ultimate price for her mistake.