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The Quiet Game

(Penn Cage #1)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  28,662 ratings  ·  1,887 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of Spandau Phoenix and Mortal Fear returns with a rich and atmospheric novel of high suspense

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, a city of old secrets and older
Paperback, 580 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Coronet Books (GB) (first published August 30th 1999)
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Karen Not at all. I did the same thing and I think this book gives more insight into the Natchez Burning series- almost like a prequel. This story…moreNot at all. I did the same thing and I think this book gives more insight into the Natchez Burning series- almost like a prequel. This story definitely stands alone as well. (less)

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Edward Lorn
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every-fucking-body with eyes

Lemme tell you a story.

I'm perusing the stacks at my local Books-a-Million (hitherto referred to as BAM), when I come across an absolutely gorgeous hardcover by a guy named Greg Iles. That novel was Natchez Burning, and if you're ever at BAM or any other brick-and-mortar bookseller, check it out. Shoot, maybe you own this marvel of modern publishing. I wanna have babies with that hardcover. Papercuts on my dinglehopper be damned! Anyfuck, I'm wiping drool from
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greg Iles sure knows how to pack a lot into one novel! Starting somewhat slowly with lawyer and author Penn Cage returning to his home town of Natchez where he discovers his father being blackmailed this moves into a full-on thriller about a supposedly unsolved 35 year old murder that was covered up. Initially thought to be racially motivated Penn soon discovers other motives involving power, greed, corruption and politics. It's a complex and action packed thriller that soon has the bodies ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it
My first book by this author and I am not quite sure how to rate it.
Firstly it was far too long. I like long books but only when the length contributes to the narrative. This one was just padded and I did skim large parts of it.
Then it had far too many and too violent deaths with apparently no repercussions. At times it seemed every character was getting bumped off without a policeman in sight. Or if there was one he was corrupt. Unrealistic.
On the other hand I found Penn Cage a very likeable
Janie Johnson
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-challenge
This is by far the best I have read from Iles so far. A very riveting tale full of lies, deceit, mistrust, and brutal honesty. The plot was brilliant, the characters even more so, so vivid that you could place yourself there among them. My favorite character would have to be Penn Cage. I can honestly say that I will not forget him for a very long time, if ever. I look forward to the other books in this series. I can only see Cage becoming even more amazing.

I loved the twists that Iles included
Lewis Weinstein
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent read, with interesting characters and plot, and sustained tension.

It also provides a look at the ugly prejudice against blacks that apparently still exists in the deep South, including among some in law enforcement, and the hypocrisy with which people try to hide but not deal with or change their feelings.

Iles has at least two instances of unexpected help coming from unexpected places, a device that often gets to me. He also has his main character (author Penn Cage) reflect
I'd give this 3.5 if I could. I really liked the story line but I'm tiring of the formula in a lot of mystery/thriller type books where the main character, whether it be a male or female, is always very attractive and therefore attracts a very attractive love interest. A lot of time I think it detracts from the main story line and is just filler. One love interest in this story is necessary for the plot but the other one? Maybe they could have been cohorts in solving the crime instead of lovers? ...more
Penn Cage is a famous author with his own personal demons, after unsuccessfully trying to move on from the unexpected death of his wife, he takes his young daughter Annie home to Natchez, Mississippi to be with his family. Natchez brings back memories that Penn didn't expect, chief among those is a 30 year old murder motivated by racial tension, politics, and class warfare in 1968. The mystery aspect was interesting, although slightly predictable and not nearly as exciting as all the attempted ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 * It’s hard to fill 624 pages and keep the reader interested to the very end. Greg Iles has the ability to achieve this with a well crafted story of murder and settling of scores with those in power. With many smarmy characters along with action packed scenes, it is an engrossing read that will keep you turning the pages well into the night.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely great! I love fiction by Southern authors, and you can almost feel the sultry heat in Greg Isle's words. I was gripped by the story from the first page to the last. Can't wait to read the next in the series. There are so many truths about the South in the pages of this novel, and I am going to make all my friends read it.
Jonathan K
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to Greg Iles months ago when I stumbled across "Natchez Burning" on the staff picks section at our library. Unfamiliar with the author, I found the pace, plot twists and character depth on par with Pulitzer winners and a momentum factor, similar to a rocket launch. I found Penn Cage, the central character someone I could relate with due to his humanity, selflessness and passion for 'doing the right thing'. Having finished the trilogy, I have been working my way through all ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
How I rated this book.

All books start with 5-stars then have stars or partial stars deducted.

1. This book was not jaw-droppingly amazing in the way The Remains of the Day or Things Fall Apart were. Neither was it brilliant, ground-breaking, and thought provoking like pretty much anything by Jonathan Coe or by Denis Johnson is.

Deduct one star for non-brilliance.

Rating now at 4-stars.

2. First person. I am not particularly in love with first person. There are times when it works and times when
Jun 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I must admit that I read this book for a strange reason. I read a brilliant review of Natchez Burning, and discovered that it was the 4th in the Penn Cage series. While the review was clear that it's not necessary to read the first three to appreciate Natchez Burning, I am a bit obsessive about reading mystery series in order. A long rationale, but mostly it ended up being worthwhile. I like Penn Cage. I like the setting. I liked the plot. It kept me reading to the end wondering how it would all ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I only recently discovered Greg Iles (Summer of 2010). The Quiet Game is the second book of his that I have read. Yes, he is a better read than Grisham and his characters are more alive and his description of events closer to home. A little too much violence and murder to be real, but it is a thriller and that is why we are reading him. Iles is particulary adept at bringing the reader into the relationships, and creating the chemistry of Penn Cage and Livy and Penn Cage and Caitlin is nothing ...more
4.5 stars

Natchez, MS, is from where Penn Cage hails and, following the death of his wife, to where he flees with his little girl. Good memories abound, but danger now, as he looks into a 1968 unsolved murder of a black citizen. His ex, Livy Marston, comes back at the same time, and he wonders if they'll have a second chance at love. She escaped years before, and her father set forth trying to ruin Cage's father for some mysterious reason.

Looking up from the bridge, I see Natchez as the tourist
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had me trapped in the stinging closet of self-loathing for the very short time it took me to race through it. And thank goodness is was fast-paced, because oh my God did it cause some eyerolling that would have been medically marginal had it continued unabated. The characters were so incredibly stereotypical and alternately condescending/patronizing in so many ways that I audibly sighed to myself while reading this, as if to beg myself to turn back and put this book down. But I ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Penn Cage goes home, to Natchez, Mississippi, after the death of his wife to find his father is being blackmailed. Being Houston prosecutor and familiar with the law he tries to protect his father, but he then becomes wrapped up in the 30 yr old murder of a black veteran. Along with Caitlin Masters, a newspaper publisher, he gets involved with the FBI, the memory of an old girlfriend, and a judge who threatened to ruin him and his family years ago.
I found it a bit hard to get into the swing of
Purple Country Girl (Sandy)

The Quiet Game is slow to get off the ground. It took me almost a month to finish it, after putting it aside several times because the buildup was so, to put it nicely, leisurely. Somewhere around the 100 page mark, it finally picked up and my interest was piqued. It is also very long - my copy, a rather tall paperback, is over 600 pages in length. In all honesty, I think it could have been at least 100 pages shorter and nothing would have been lost. Some of the scenes are very drawn out and
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two thumbs up to Greg Iles for a stunning legal thriller. I was totally engrossed in this page-turner which is packed with courtroom drama, politics, scandal, secrets and lots of action. I love the character Penn Cage, who is now a best-selling author but earlier was a prosecuting attorney in Texas. Penn and his young daughter have returned to Natchez, Mississippi after the death of his wife in the hopes that his parents can help the 4-year-old get back to some semblance of normalcy. After a ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Quiet Game written by Greg Iles in 1999. It is the first of the Penn Cage series. I have heard from a few other readers how much they enjoy the writing of Greg Ilse's Penn Cage -- Penn is a lawyer who has made the tough conscious decision to do the right thing. The Quiet Game is one of those books, (plus others), sitting on the shelf known as "I will get to you one day". I am so sorry I have waited this long. The Quiet Game is an excellent read which has enough twist and turns to keep the ...more
The Cats’ Mother
This was an outstanding legal/political thriller which has not dated, despite being twenty years old. It’s the first in a series about lawyer turned writer Penn Cage, but is a complete story with a proper ending, which suits me as with so many other series in the go, it may be a while before I get to the next one - although on the strength of this, get to it I will!

Penn Cage (ridiculous name for someone who’s career involved sending people to prison - subconscious literary nominative determinism
So, a couple of years ago, a book called Natchez Burning came out, and it's a pretty doorstop of a thing and I was like "YES. WANT." and then I learned that it was actually the 4th book in a series and then I had the sads. That didn't last long though, because through the magic of my short attention span (or ADD if you believe my previous boss), I forgot all about it until recently. I'm not sure what brought it back to attention, but since it was once again on my radar, I decided to start the ...more
A good start to a smart series. Penn Cage is an intelligent writer and semi retired attorney who has a knack for detective work. I liked how his character was introduced and how we were given just enough of a look into his past to let us see why he can be vulnerable at times and ruthless at others. He has a good true nature and never lets on to others just how truly intelligent he is in order to keep them guessing and a little off balance without knowing why. This story has a little something ...more
Judith E
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
A tolerable, plot driven, audible mystery. Lawyer/author Penn Cage returns to his Mississippi roots to solve a cold case mystery. Interesting characters, insightful small town descriptions and a few twists involving racism, the FBI and big business.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, there’s no shortage of plot action in this one. All kinds of crazy events (past & present) come colliding together when Penn Cage moves back home to Natchez, Mississippi with his daughter and agrees to look into an old unsolved murder case.

Not exactly the relaxing, recuperative trip back home he was expecting. Now, the clock is ticking for him to unravel the twisted hometown history and fight his own demons before they destroy everything that he holds dear.

Family secrets,
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It has found it's place on my favorites shelf in the company of only 2 other titles. I was immediately captivated and pulled into the story. It had crime, corruption, love, hate, jealousy, idealism and more. The story revolves around an unsolved 1968 murder in the deep south, a town called Natchez in Mississippi. The settings, characters, dialogue, plot, outcome all are believable. I loved the characters, even the ones I didn't like, if ...more
I've meant to read Greg Iles for years, and I very much regret it taking me so long to get here. Holy hell, this was amazing. Layers and twists and surprise gut-punches all the way through, real, humanly flawed characters with some just outright bad to the core, and compelling, page-turning drama kept me from ever being bored in a damn long book. Penn Cage is a new favorite character and I look forward to much more!
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense-mystery
This started off great guns, but then turned 'serious' and weighed the story down. Iles can write. Pity he relies on formulaic fiction. I liked the main character, but felt like he was the stuff of male fantasies, e.g, having two beautiful women after him, being a crusader for civil rights, taking on the bad guys singlehandedly, and so on.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars
I have to say I really enjoyed this book, it was a very long read but well worth it in the end. I totally bought into the main character and the murder from 1968 that he was investigating, and the murder came at a very difficult juncture in his life. I almost felt like cheering him for taking this on, and felt like booing every time the suspected culprits came centre stage (just like a pantomime). The court scenes at the end of the book brought this all to a head very nicely. I will
Feb 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, thriller
I thought this was a mediocre, deeply lazy, paint by the numbers waste of time. For full disclosure I listened to rather than read this book and the narrators unintentionally hilarious attempts to do female southern accents really did not help. But the real problem with this book was a plot that stunk a mile away, a love for every cliche under the book, and some very clunky dialogue.

Back to John Grisham.
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Greg Iles was born in Germany in 1960. He grew up in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. He was active in a band called "Frankly Scarlet", but quit after realizing that the touring lifestyle was not conducive with his family life. Once no longer busy with the band, he turned his attention to writing.

Greg's novels have been translated into various

Other books in the series

Penn Cage (6 books)
  • Turning Angel (Penn Cage #2)
  • The Devil's Punchbowl (Penn Cage #3)
  • Natchez Burning (Penn Cage, #4)
  • The Bone Tree (Penn Cage #5)
  • Mississippi Blood (Penn Cage, #6)
“I will do those things which make me happy today and which I can also live with ten years from now.” 59 likes
“Einstein said the arrow of time flies in only one direction. Faulkner, being from Mississippi, understood the matter differently. He said the past is never dead; it's not even past. All of us labor in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. Haunted by wrong turns and roads not taken, we pursue images perceived as new but whose provenance dates to the dim dramas of childhood, which are themselves but ripples of consequence echoing down the generations. The quotidian demands of life distract from this resonance of images and events, but some of us feel it always.

And who among us, offered the chance, would not relive the day or hour in which we first knew love, or ecstasy, or made a choice that forever altered our future, negating a life we might have had? Such chances are rarely granted. Memory and grief prove Faulkner right enough, but Einstein knew the finality of action. If I cannot change what I had for lunch yesterday, I certainly cannot unmake a marriage, erase the betrayal of a friend, or board a ship that left port twenty years ago.”
More quotes…