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Greg Iles to write more Penn Cage thrillers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fans of Greg Iles' Penn Cage books can look forward to several more of the thrillers with the announcement of a new trilogy, the first of which is slated for release in May 2014, the publisher said on Tuesday.

"Natchez Burning" will kick off the trilogy in which Cage's father, Dr. Tom Cage, stands accused of killing his former nurse, a death that opens the door to several unsolved murders from the 1960s, William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, said.

Iles' Cage character has served as the protagonist of his earlier novels "The Quiet Game," "Turning Angel" and the No. 1 bestseller, "The Devil's Punchbowl".

Iles' new project was spurred by events in his own life in recent years, including the 2010 death of his father, a doctor who was the inspiration for Tom Cage, and Iles' devastating automobile accident the following year, which cost him part of his right leg following a medically induced coma.

The accident occurred near Natchez, Mississippi, where the author lives.

"My father has always been the heart of my Penn Cage novels," Iles said in the announcement. "When he died during the writing of this book — and then I very nearly died myself — the thriller I was working on grew into something far more ambitious and profound."

The story explores family, race, murder and mixed-race relationships, he said, and became "epic in scope ... I began to see the exciting and unusual potential of stretching the plot across three interlinked novels."

Iles is an American writer who was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1960, where his father ran the U.S. Embassy's medical clinic during the height of the Cold War. He was raised in Natchez, where many of his books are set.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Vicki Allen)

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