A man returns to his Southern home town and himself unraveling an old and highly charged murder case.s — and his readers — focus. His tight pacing and chilling, innovative concepts have made him especially attractive to Hollywood, which has optioned and/or expressed interest in several of his books. Iless first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was about the secret escape of a Nazi soldier and the chilling plot related in his discovered diaries. It was a mixed success critically, earning praise for its premise but low marks on style. Since then, Iles has clearly developed as a novelist, and branched out in themes too. With his second novel, Black Cross, Iles displayed more of a voice and more streamlined plotting in his story of a conspiracy to use the Nazis own weapons against them. Those first two titles did become bestsellers; but by the time Iles shifted gears to write crime thrillers set in his native Mississippi, he found himself getting even more attention — and better reviews. His next two books, Mortal Fear and The Quiet Game, remain his personal favorites. Iles was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father was in charge of the medical clinic at the U.S. Embassy, in 1961. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983 and played guitar in a rock band for several years before trying his hand at writing novels. Moving from screenplays to thrillers to speculative historical fiction, Iles continues to stretch as a writer. He also indulges his love for music (he once played guitar in the band Frankly Scarlet) by performing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, an author side project that includes writers Stephen King, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, and Amy Tan
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After graduation from college, Iles worked as an x-ray and lab technician for his father, dug ditches, and worked as a professional guitarist and singer. Iles has the ability to be gloomily prophetic, but not intentionally. In an online chat in 1997, a fan pointed out that some real-life Internet-related murders had followed his Mortal Fear. Iles responded: A lot of my books have been that way. My World War II thriller about Sarin gas Black Cross was published two months before the Sarin attack in the Japanese subway. There are very weird coincidences out there. And I do have one surefire plot I have not and probably never will write, because of my fear someone will carry it out. Iless wife is a high-school sweetheart whom he married when he was 29.