NYT Bestselling Author Greg Iles Writers Letter To His Readers Revealing Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis


I was already a huge fan of New York Times bestselling author Gregg Iles, but now I love the man even more.

If you’ve been following along, waiting for Iles’ latest novel, Southern Man (set for release on May 28, 2024), to be released, then you may already be aware that the publication date has been delayed several times over the last year or two. Indeed, as  Book Spy, I cannot tell you how many emails, messages, comments, DMs, and tweets I’ve received from Iles loyal readers asking me if I knew why the book kept being pushed back. I didn’t have a clue. Now we know why.

In a letter to his fans that went out on Monday evening (January 29th, 2024), Iles revealed that in 1996, when he was thirty-six-years old, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, “an incurable blood cancer that had recently killed Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart.” In his letter, Iles explains that he had been mostly asymptomatic and, for many years, got by without ever revealing his diagnosis to anyone. All the while, he continued churning out massively successful novels, delivering one bestseller after another. Iles then explained that nearly two years ago, his “luck ran out” and that his myeloma “switched on,” which resulted in him nearly dying before he “was even aware that the disease had reawakened.”



“Thankfully,” writes Iles, “despite myeloma still being classed as incurable, treatments have improved greatly over the intervening years. Because I was deep in the writing of Southern Man when this happened, I made a decision to complete that novel before pursuing my chosen form of treatment—stem cell transplant. As one might guess, this took longer than I’d hoped, given that I was being treated conventionally throughout the writing. This should explain the multiple postponements of the release that generated so many emails and which I was unable to answer candidly at the time. At long last, however, I have completed the novel, and we have a firm publication date. I have chosen this time to go public about my situation because two years of ongoing treatment have made it impossible to maintain my privacy any longer. I will be getting my transplant prior to publication, and my publisher and I will keep you apprised of my progress during my recovery.”

You might be interested to learn that as I wrote Southern Man, the connection that always existed between Penn Cage and myself became even deeper, to the point that Penn took on my own secret struggle with mortality, along with the existential and political themes of this novel. Hopefully, Southern Man is a richer book because of it.”

After then saying he would take time to focus on his recovery and explaining that he won’t be able to answer large numbers of emails (though he will do his best to read them), Iles took the focus off of himself, saying, “Please be assured I am receiving excellent treatment . . . One thing this experience has taught me is that there is nothing unique about my situation. Many, many people are struggling with similar ailments, and I wish for them all the best possible outcomes.

He signed off, saying, “This journey is far from over. My last thought for today is that only two things matter: family and friends.”

You can read his full letter here.

We’ll be covering Southern Man, featuring it prominently leading up to its release, but most importantly, on behalf of everyone on team Book Spy, I would like to thank Mr. Iles for caring so deeply about his readers that he took the time to write and explain his situation. Far beyond the books and the characters who have become household names, we care about you, Greg, and we’re all pulling for you and wishing you the very best.

Readers everywhere can pre-order Southern Man now, ahead of its release, wherever books are sold.




Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, is also in bookstores, and his third book, OUT FOR BLOOD, comes out on June 4th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. To interact with other readers and talk about your favorite books and authors, join The Real Book Spy’s Discord server.


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