Iles Brought Me Back

After dropping out of college for the first time, I took a break from reading, one I much regret. I was skateboarding in 105% of my free time, and working until three and sometimes four in the morning. That all changed when I went to visit my mom for Christmas about six years ago. I was looking at her bookshelf and asked if she had any recommendations to get me reading again, part of the problem was that I hadn’t really found a favorite author yet. She recommended I read The Devil’s Punchbowl, by Greg Iles.


I was hooked from the first few pages. The book is part of the Penn Cage series, and it starts out in a cemetery where he is to meet someone to discuss secrets dealing with his hometown of Natchez Mississippi. The book takes you through Penn’s adventure to make his hometown a better place, as he does in most of the Penn Cage novels. This was easily the longest book I had ever read at this point at over 700 pages, but that wasn’t a thought in my head as I couldn’t put it down. Iles made me fall in love with Penn, and this is the book that got me reading again, and ultimately led me to the conclusion that I should pursue a career in writing.

When I finished Natchez Burning a few years later, after reading all but two of Iles’s books, it was about four in the morning, but I was so moved by the ending that I got out my computer and just started typing to see what would happen. I saw the sun come up that morning, and got about halfway through one of my favorite, and first, short stories I’d written.

Before Iles I was all poetry, I had written a few things for school in English classes, but mainly emotional poetry. I have about six or seven journals that are packed full of my wild range of emotions throughout high school, and the time after. They are quite interesting reads, funny, sad, unbelievable, and at times, quite shocking. While they are some of my favorites, they will stay in my closet, and thanks to Iles, and my mother of course, I have begun my quest to have something more than poetry published.

If you’re interested in Greg Iles, you can find him here, and if you’re interested in any of my poetry, you can find it here. The further you go back on the site, the older they get, and there’s about 550 posts right now. Enjoy!



11 thoughts on “Iles Brought Me Back

  1. That’s awesome that you discovered what you want to do in life, whether you nailed it on your first try or not. Many people never realize what they would really enjoy as a job, and most of the ones that do realize too late. You’re still young and have plenty of time to write a best-seller, just keep perfecting your craft and one day I’m sure we’ll all see you name next to “Author:” in a great book. As far as the book goes that you discussed I’m not familiar with it or the author but can guarantee I’m going to look into it after the review you gave!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s awe-inspiring to see how much this book has affected you for the better. I personally haven’t read a book with more than 400 pages but I do have a 900 page one that is so dense I read it months at a time. Like I’ve said before, you should definitely go for what inspires you, especially if you’re good at it. Good luck with your writing, and I might check out The Devil’s Punchbowl someday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This series sounds really cool! And it’s super awesome that it had such an inspiring effect on you, man. If you don’t mind me asking, what was the short story you wrote afterward about? did you take any inspiration from Iles’ way of writing?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear writer,

    I have been browsing the blogging world for two days to find a piece that I throughly enjoyed reading. Even though you have penned a review, your style of is very much impressive.
    I simply loved the way you write it, the emotion behind it was the greater part of your post. I’m not sure if others were able to sense it because I certainly did.
    Through this it only encourages me to read more if your writings.

    Thank you.


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