The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

November 21, 2013

the night season Plot summary (from the publisher): He captured the Beauty Killer, one of the most deranged serial killers in the country. Now, Portland police detective Archie Sheridan faces a different kind of killer—a brutal rain season that has flooded the Willamette River, claiming several lives. As water levels rise, so does the fear. Because some of the victims didn’t drown—they were murdered.

The first body contains a rare poison. Three others prove to be murders as well. And with each gruesome discovery the medical examiner uncovers, Archie begins to realize he has not escaped his nightmares—even with his deadliest enemy behind bars. The flood has washed up old skeletons from the past. And a ruthless new serial killer rules the night…

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • The relationship crap was kept to a minimum, which was good. It’s been so long between installments in this series (for me) that I can’t remember if Susan and Archie ever got together. There were certainly hints of feelings in this book, but that’s mercifully where the author stopped.
  • As little as there seemed to be happening plot-wise, I nevertheless kept turning the pages. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s surely a credit to the author that there were few boring patches along the way here.

Disliked:

  • How could this possibly have been marketed as a Gretchen-Archie book???? She’s not even in the damn thing until the last few pages, and then it’s just some lame “sanity hearing” that serves NO PURPOSE except to get Gretchen and Archie in the same room. WTF?! If I’d actually purchased this book looking for Gretchen/Archie interaction, I would be damned pissed at the result. Luckily, I just got this from the library. And on the bright side, at least the reader didn’t have to suffer through endless pages describing Gretchen’s legendary beauty and how she can rock the sexiest mini dresses here, there, and everywhere just because she’s the “Beauty Killer.”
  • The killer’s motive was dumb and his choice of weapon (poisonous octopuses, really????) was even dumber. So this guy’s grandfather died in a flood 60 years ago and he felt the need to, what, “honor” that event by going on a killing spree? This made no sense at all.
  • There was so much time spent describing the rainfall, the water levels, and the flooding that if all talk of the weather were completely excised from the book, it’d probably end up being 33% shorter.
  • It seemed that Archie was extremely passive in this book. He didn’t so much lead the investigation into the octopus killer as just follow Susan or take orders from above. In fact, Susan was featured in this book more than Archie. When did she become the main player in this series?

Rating:

I read a lot of thrillers, and The Night Season by Chelsea Cain is average in that regard. It had some good moments, but was rather predictable on the whole and didn’t bring anything original to the table. And because this book was advertised as an Archie Sheridan-Gretchen Lowell mystery (instead of a standalone Archie Sheridan novel), I feel it deserves to be docked one star in its final rating. I give it 2 stars out of 5.

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