Based in Waco, Texas, Bert Vandiver leads LR Commercial Construction, Inc., and provides a full range of services focused on energy-industry activities in the Permian Basin. An avid reader, Bert Vandiver is particularly drawn to the works of Greg Iles. Born in Germany and a longtime Mississippi resident, Iles is known for works such as Natchez Burning, which is set in the South of the 1960s and presents a vivid chronicle of tumultuous times.
The book has a strong personal component, as Iles was involved in a life-threatening accident near Natchez, Mississippi, while finishing up the volume. The 2011 incident involved another vehicle slamming into his car, which resulted in a torn aorta and multiple broken bones. Following a medically induced coma that lasted more than a week, Iles had part of his right leg amputated.
The end result of this brush with mortality was to give Iles greater impetus as a writer and what was initially a single-length volume became an 800 page work, with the 2014 book only the first of a trilogy. Also coming to terms with the recent passing of his father, Iles described the experience behind Natchez as expanding his take on writing and making him realize there was no place in the novel for “formula and fluff.”