It’s no secret that Mississippi has a rich literary heritage, with authors like William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Richard Wright as part of state history. Even now, writers such as Greg Iles and Angie Thomas are upholding the tradition of producing work that is appreciated by audiences far and wide. Greg Iles has written novels in a variety of genres throughout his career, with fifteen of them landing on the New York Times bestseller list. Angie Thomas’s debut novel inspired a film that grossed over $32 million. Both of these successful Mississippi writers have highly-anticipated new books being released this spring.
Greg Iles is well-known for his thrilling novels, particularly his Natchez Burning trilogy. His upcoming novel, Cemetery Road, tells the story of prominent Washington, D.C. journalist Marshall McEwan as he reluctantly returns home to Mississippi when his father is dying. During his visit, his hometown is sent into a frenzy by two shocking crimes: an archaeologist is murdered at a nearby construction site and the wife of local power broker Max Matheson is found shot dead in their bed. Marshall secretly joins forces with Jet, Max’s daughter-in-law and defense attorney—who also happens to be Marshall’s high school sweetheart. As Marshall and Jet investigate, they uncover family secrets and criminal schemes that have been influencing town politics for years. The closer Marshall gets to the truth, the more he realizes just how much he stands to lose if he exposes it. Cemetery Road goes on sale everywhere on March 5th, 2019.
Angie Thomas’s first book, a young-adult novel titled The Hate U Give was released in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim. Shortly after, the book was turned into a successful movie with the same name. Thomas’s next young-adult novel is scheduled to release on February 5th, 2019 and is titled On the Come Up. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old aspiring rapper Bri, whose late father was an underground hip hop legend. Frustrated after her mom loses her job, Bri writes a song that goes viral. However, she soon realizes the attention her song is receiving is primarily negative and that the media is labeling her a hoodlum. As her home situation gets worse with the threat of eviction, Bri knows she must do whatever it takes to make it big. This insightful novel portrays a strong young girl who follows her dreams despite all the people watching and waiting for her to fail.
Both Iles and Thomas have scheduled appearances coming up at Jackson’s Lemuria Books, including signed first editions of their respective novels. With writers like these, it seems that Mississippi’s literary reputation is in good hands.