His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, a thriller about Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess, was published in 1992 and became a New York Times bestseller.
Iles’s second novel, Black Cross, a thriller set during the Holocaust in Germany, was awarded the Mississippi Author’s Award for Fiction. Previous winners include Richard Ford, and Donna Tartt. Black Cross also received the Bertelsmann Award for New Fiction, after Iles was nominated for the prize by John Grisham.
In 1997, with his third novel, Iles shifted settings from Europe to his native South. Mortal Fear, a New York Times bestseller, traces a duel between a computer sysop running an exclusive sexual-fantasy chatroom and the serial killer who haunts it. Of Iles’s next novel, Jeffery Deaver wrote: “What a compelling story! The Quiet Game takes us on an engrossing, page-turning ride into the heart of terror, past and present, in a Southern town.” Iles’ last book, 24 Hours, was hailed by critics as “a tour de force of suspense” (The Memphis Commercial Appeal), “diabolical” (People), and “brilliantly plotted bone-chilling suspense” (Publishers Weekly). Iles’s writing is so immediate that we feel we know his characters personally, and that Penn Cage’s search for justice becomes ours.”
Iles lives in Natchez, Mississippi, with his wife and two children, and is now at work on his sixth novel. For relaxation, he writes and records original music with a few close friends from his “former life.”