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THE NIGHT SEASON
by Chelsea Cain
Minotaur Books, March 2011
320 pages
$24.99
ISBN: 0312619766


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Serial killer Gretchen Lowell is in jail. This means that policeman Archie Sheridan can try to continue his recovery process, recovering from both his addiction to Vicodin and his very bizarre relationship with Gretchen. Reporter Susan Ward is trying to build on the momentum she gained through her connections to Archie and Gretchen. Life does go on.

It's raining in Portland. Raining a lot. When a stretch of the Willamette River floods, a skeleton is turns up, an old skeleton. Susan Ward writes a story suggesting that this skeleton may be from the 1948 flood that destroyed Vanport. There is some question about the warning system in place in 1948, whether or not it worked, and just how many people died. Susan's editor isn't happy about the piece.

There is a serial killer taking advantage of the floods and threats of floods. The murder weapon is bizarre; in "normal" times, tracking down the killer by finding the source of the weapon would be very easy. Computers are out, normal methods of communication are sporadic, and businesses are closed and/or evacuated. This disruption extends to all parts of the city's bureaucracy.

Archie has a personal stake in this case. One of his friends is a victim, and may be dying. Susan's stake is in redeeming herself with her editor, which means working with Archie to find the killer. All of this in the middle of a natural disaster.

Cain has written a very good thriller. Readers expecting more of Gretchen Lowell will have to settle for a cameo appearance at the end. Archie and Susan are the stars here, and they shine. Cain also makes the world around them a major character. Tightly plotted, THE NIGHT SEASON demonstrates that Cain has more to write about than Gretchen Lowell, and she does it well.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, April 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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