In The Night Season Chelsea Cain’s continues her promising series of thrillers featuring detective Archie Sheridan and a fascinating cast of characters, with the free spirited reporter Susan Ward being at the epicenter of this adventure.
In this new novel, the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell is finally in the background, but she will never be out of the picture as Archie will be forever damaged and sickeningly drawn to this dastardly beautiful female serial killer. But it is time that we all get on with our lives without her.
The Night Season is set around a flooding Portland, Oregon with a weird serial killer on the loose. First, a woman’s body is discovered on carousel in small amusement park that appears to be a drowning but the body has been moved. Closer inspection at the morgue reveals some odd things about the corpse. And suddenly, Archie is faced with another killer who has a very unusual way dispatching the victims. Add to that some weird clues and a missing boy, we are set up for another crime thriller. With the water level rising and a flooded city imminent, Archie has to find the killer before he or she strikes again, or escapes without punishment for their deeds.
This novel is has a very clever setting. Susan Ward has written about a skull found in a 1948 flood near Portland that she wants to solve the mystery of, while at the same time facing a present day flood and finding herself involved once again with Archie in the midst of a case. We are left wondering throughout the novel what, if anything, this old skull might have to do with the present case. And we have a very unique killer on the loose with a strange modus operandi and an unknown motive to the very end.
Despite this clever setting and very interesting characters, this novel did not live up the previous three installments. The novel does keep the reader’s interest but it simply is not the spellbinding page turner as those featuring Gretchen Lowell more prominently. It seems the characters personalities are stuck in place without much development and plot is interesting but a bit plodding.
While I think this series needs to put Gretchen in the background, it needs to do more to bring the rest of characters to the forefront in a way that advances their stories instead of rehashing the past. While overall I would recommend this novel to fans of the previous installments, I hope to see better in the future.
The Night Season reads like a hard rain - fast, intense, inescapable. Propelled forward by a fast-moving plot and the snappy dialogue of her characters, the story comes on strong and doesn't let up until it's done. Here, in the fourth book of Cain's Portland crime series, we have the story of a modern-day Portland engulfed by rain and the ever-rising waters of the Willamette River, and the tale of Vanport, flooded 60 years previously. Mysterious deaths are uncovered … more
History repeats itself in The Night Season, when the Willamette River rises nearly as high as in 1948, when it swept away an entire town in less than an hour. Now the city of Portland itself is threatened, but there's more than a flood to worry about when a series of drownings turn out to be murder by octopus. If you can swallow the idea that a serial killer would choose such a bizarre, troublesome method when a simple hypodermic would do, this isn't a bad mystery. Detective Archie Sheridan … more
With serial killer Gretchen Lowell locked up, Archie Sheridan can concentrate on more pressing issues, like the Willamette River threatening to overflow its banks, in Cain's fine fourth thriller to feature the Portland, Ore., detective. When a body turns up at an amusement park, Archie thinks it's just another drowning, until the coroner finds a puncture wound. The case becomes a murder investigation when similar marks are found on other recent victims thought to have succumbed to the Willamette's rising waters. Meanwhile, reporter Susan Ward is writing a piece on a skeleton uncovered at the site of what was once Vanport, a town destroyed by a flood in 1948. She tags along with Archie's team as they try to pinpoint not only the killer's motive but also his bizarre toxin. Cain easily weaves the history of the real-life Vanport flood with her trademark heart-stopping moments, and fans will be pleased to see the series flourishing without Gretchen on every page. 150,000 first printing. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.