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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First- make sure you read the first 3 books in this series. One of the few redeeming qualities of this book is getting back into the lives of familiar characters.
Second- Spoilers Ahead!!!
I was very disappointed in this book. The series really focused on the relationship between Archie and Gretchen and their chemistry is very much missed here. Gretchen is in the book almost as an afterthought, as if the author felt she had to get Gretchen in somewhere.
The writing is just loose. The plot doesn't pull you in, and the murder weapon is ridiculous. The main "bad guy" is not fleshed out well at all.
Bottom line...
a sad chapter in what was an exciting series.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
In Chelsea Cain's latest thriller, "The Night Season," Homicide Detective Archie Sheridan is on the trail of a psychotic killer who uses a most unusual weapon to dispatch his victims. Sheridan has stopped popping pain pills and dutifully attends his psychotherapy sessions. However, he will never forget the torture and humiliation that Gretchen Lowell, known as "the Beauty Killer," inflicted on him. "His scars were as much a part of him as his eye color." This time around, Cain wisely puts Gretchen on the back burner; the "Beauty Killer" makes a brief appearance, but is not the story's central focus.

Archie has his hands full: The dead body of a woman is found on a carousel; skeletal remains that were missing for sixty years have suddenly surfaced; and a nine-year-old boy is missing. At Archie's side is Susan Ward, an aggressive, sassy, and extremely sharp reporter with an aptitude for digging up arcane facts. She writes a "quirky crime roundup column" and is always on the lookout for juicy material. She sports raspberry-colored hair and rainbow striped boots, smokes cigarettes, and wisecracks incessantly. Archie has a soft spot in his heart for the irrepressible Susan, so he gives her more leeway than he would to most reporters.

Meanwhile, a potential catastrophe threatens the city. Two weeks of heavy rains ("the kind of rain that got in your eyes and streamed down your cheeks") have pummeled Portland, Oregon, and the Willamette River is threatening to overflow. Cain maintains an excruciating level of suspense, nicely tying the menace of the rising waters to the search for a serial killer who enjoys watching people die. The scenes depicting the out-of-control flood waters washing away everything in their path are terrifyingly realistic.

Along with Archie, who is daring and heroic, the author showcases the ever lively and curious Susan (who in one scene is so uncharacteristically stupid that readers will want to shake her), the witty and astute medical examiner, Lorenzo Robbins, and Archie's friends and colleagues, Detectives Henry Sobol, Claire Masland, Jeff Heil, and FBI profiler Anne Boyd. Although the novel contains a few formulaic elements that do not quite ring true, they do not detract markedly from the book's entertainment value. "The Night Season" has sharp dialogue, an intriguing plot, a brisk prose style, and effective descriptive writing. This is a sure-fire page-turner and one of Chelsea Cain's most compelling works of fiction to date.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 28, 2012
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Night Season follows Evil at Heart as Chelsea Cain's fourth Archie Sheridan, Gretchen Lowell and Susan Ward thriller. I have heard critics call the book riveting, captivating, spellbinding, you name it. These accolades gave me just a moment's pause because I did not find the book to be any of those things. Since this genre is one I read a lot of and enjoy, I stand by my opinion of the book. I say opinion, because it is all subjective, isn't it?

In Cain's first book, Heartsick, the characters were new to the reader, obviously, and all their many quirks and the lightness and shadows of personality were interesting. The dynamics were fresh and the action shocking and sensational in its way. But that was three books ago and the things we found different and offbeat then are now just plain wearing.

I have to admit to being so sick to death of Archie's martyrdom that I want him to go away for years of therapy. I want to take immature and goofy Susan Ward and shake her until she grows up. And someone stick a knife in Gretchen cause she's done. The first one or two books were riveting, captivating and spellbinding, maybe, but this one is just hard to put up with despite some good writing underneath it all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well written in spite of the utterly stupid and unbelievable "weapon" used by the killer. I mean, really (WARNING SPOILER AHEAD), imagine this guy going up to his victims and saying "Excuse me, would you mind standing still for a bit while I press this deadly octopus against your flesh so it can bite you." Another reviewer's great comment about the killer trout hits the nail on the head. But I think her next book should feature the little known deadly poisonous Oregon slug which the killer cunningly induces people to adopt as pets, having trained them (the slugs) to crawl out of their terrariums in the dark of night, sneak (the deadly Oregon slugs are really good at sneaking!) over to where the victim is sleeping and, well, slime them with their poison slime. Then the slugs would dial 911 and sneak (there they go again, sneaking around) back to their terrariums. A veritable locked room mystery!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The victim suffers an unspeakable death at the hand of a misguided killer. That victim would be the reputation of the Portland PD, although the reader does not remain unscathed. If one actually found any of this book plausible, one might believe that the police allow outsiders to wander freely about crime scenes and their offices, having access to computers and other records. They put physically disabled individuals out on the street with severe mental issues and histories of substance addiction. That would explain why they can't solve a crime without the aid of a total ditz. The murder weapon is a small octopus that cannot inject venom. It must bite and salivate the poison. However, the one in the book proves lethal, merely by flinging it at someone's face. Presumably, it has the mental faculties to access the situation in a fraction of a second, the agility of a cat to position itself in mid-air for the proper angle of attack and the speed of light to execute the poisoning upon impact and prior to rebound.

Even allowing for creative license, this rambling wreck simply does not wash. The character development has the depth of onion skin and they are virtually all unlikable losers. There are no redeeming traits to make the reader care. The killer goes undeveloped until the closing pages and his motivation and thought processes do not ring true.

Contained in this shoddy structure are questionable facts, contradictions and fallacies. All kinds of people are leaping into the cold river and suffer only the slightest signs of hypothermia. In one breath, it's stated that it takes a couple feet of flood water to wash away a car, but the harebrained columnist watches hers get swept down the street in water five inches deep. On one page, it's said that a fashion is so popular that even the lead detective could notice it but, on the next, he's described as being highly perceptive. The killer fills a 20 gallon aquarium in a sink. Really? It's got to be almost three feet wide and almost as high. How do you wedge that into a household sink and under the faucet?

To quote Truman Capote, "That's not writing, that's typing."
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
GOOD LORD!!

I loyally followed this "Heartsick" series from the moment I put the first installment down. I was sucked into the story from the beginning. I pre-ordered the second book, "Sweetheart" with anticipation. It was alright. Then the third book, "Evil at Heart", I was disappointed. Each installment became a little less captivating.
Now this! I read this book with ongoing frustration. What happened here???

This story is so far-fetched in some areas that I had to put it down and take a break more than once. Besides the fact that Chelsea refuses to evolve these central characters in any way, I found the plot ridiculous at best. This series has gone from being a serial killer thriller to being a cheesy detective mystery.
Each book strays farther and farther from realism. I enjoy losing myself in a good fiction book, particularly a thriller or mystery. But it has to have at least a minuscule amount of substance. This book had none.

Archie. The main character, the detective, the victim of Gretchen Lowell and the saint of the criminal world. From the first book to the fourth, he has never managed to evolve as a human being and suffers from severe egotism. Every murder, kidnapping or torture is always his fault. Food and sleep are a crutch and he is incessantly ill. Everyone is always concerned with his well being and he is only concerned with saving the world. There is no depth to this character and I have lost all hope that there ever will be. Even snippets of his therapy sessions reveal absolutely nothing and he insists on keeping the façade of never experiencing emotion. Archie remains the redundant martyr of the story. I'm over it.

Susan Ward. Probably the most irritating character of the entire series. Yes, the ever changing hair color, rebellious attitude and childlike maturity as a grown adult instilled a fair amount of entertainment to the story in the beginning, but this character too has yet to evolve. Time and again she is put into life threatening situations because of her need to tag along like a 5 year old and seek the approval of the detective that she has chased around for 3 years. Her behavior has followed a predictable pattern in every book. So much so that I and everyone else that reads this series could accurately forecast how she will be by Archie's side through every crime scene, be working on two separate news stories that always tie together in the end and act like a frantic dumb a** through every situation WHICH no matter how severe, she never really learns from. Again Chelsea has successfully stifled the growth of the very characters that she has created.

And by the way Miss. Cain, are there anymore natural disasters that are prominent in the Pacific Northwest that you have left to incorporate into your detective series? What's next a tornado? Will the murder weapon be a deadly caterpillar next time? How about when Portlanders go to grab a newspaper, a deadly trout jumps out and rips their faces off? Does that sound anymore ridiculous than an Australian native blue ringed octopus poisoning people around the city?

I hope your next book Gretchen Lowell escapes prison and puts Archie out of his misery. Someone should. Too bad I won't be spending my money to find out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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 has returned from an extended medical leave, and as he hunts for the psycho he must also battle the weather, which plays a major role in the book's outcome. Tagging along as usual is journalist Susan Ward, who inadvertently serves as the murderer's catalyst. For some reason, the cops tolerate her intrusiveness, and she makes discoveries without which they'd not be able to resolve the case, at least not as quickly.

As its title implies, this is a dark novel. The characters spend most of the time in sopping wet clothing, drenched either by the incessant rain or by their own rescue forays into the river. Archie and Susan are likable characters, quite natural in their personal quirks, reactions, and motivations. That sort of realism extends to the less prominent characters as well. Lamentably, the one exception in Night is the killer himself, of whom we learn little and see less, and I kept wondering how he managed not to fall prey to his own murder weapon. Also, it was never made clear why he kidnapped a child. Nevertheless, the police procedural part of the plot works, the atmosphere is bleak and ominous, and the ending is a dramatic one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
While others descibe the plot as "implausible," I feel even using a word like that gives it too much credit. The whole thing was just ridiculous. And when Susan put herself into the killer's hands the way she did? I always feel when someone is that shockingly stupid the writer can't kill them off fast enough after that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The old gang (Susan Archie, Henry and Claire)is back together again and under some very unusual circumstances. During one of the worst floods (ok 2nd worse, apparently there was one in the late 1940s) in recent history, a deranged (ok, maybe that's a little common) serial killer is hunting in Portland. Oddly enough, the killer uses some highly poisonous blue ringed octopus (i.e., weapon) to kill his prey, before drowning them, leaving virtually no physical evidence with the exception of a tiny key (i.e., his signature).

Archie has finally kicked his 7 a day vicodin addiction and is back to what he loves....working ...his job as a Homicide Detective and saving lives. This time he is trying to save, an abducted boy (who has ties to the killer), his partner Henry (who has become one of the killer's victims), and even Susan (his girl Friday whose job is on shaking ground with her boss/ex-lover).What I enjoyed about this story is Cain's continued dedication to remain true to her characters. Archie is still the martyr, occasionally punishing himself for his past mistakes, while always staying focused on discovering the truth, all while still trying to heal from being mentally and physically tortured. He's a dichotomy of a man who should be broken, and yet his mere spirit prevents it. And then there is Susan (an eager reporter), who is still a zealot for the truth, but unlike most in her profession, she looks at the people involved in the story more so than the angle.

What I enjoy most about this story was Cain's ability to weave seemingly unrelated events (missing boy, skeleton, a woman in a nursing home, a dead woman on a carousel, and the flood of 1948) into one coherent story that offers suspense, thrills and chills. And of course, there is still the usual Cain gloom, doom and darkness that is only intensified by the horrific weather conditions in the story.

The killer, while ordinary on the surface eventually became mildly interesting because of his killing method (killing people with octopus). And there was his misguided sense of revenge over the death of a family member . Again, how someone so ordinary could kill in such a compelling way was mindboggling. I was also glad to see that "Gretchen" who was throughout the first 3 novels was virtually absent, merely an echo or briefly mentioned. Although we know that Gretchen will always be a part of Archie, it is also time for him to move on with his life. Therefore, Cain's ability to continue the series by strengthening the central characters is an achievement in and of itself.

My only criticism, and it is small is that I would have liked Archie to find true happiness....with Susan. All the signs are there and I think they would be perfect for each other. Think about it, both are broken but with a little healing could make it work.

Overall, this was a decent read. For those who love a slow building and suspenseful read, with some tortured characters and a sick serial killer, this is the story for you. I can't wait to see what Cain comes up with next.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Portland, Oregon police detective Archie Sheridan feels he can finally move on with his life as his nemesis serial killer Gretchen Lowell is incarcerated. However, he also knows she has been locked away before, but escaped like a magician.

As the Willamette overflows its banks, a body is found at an amusement park. Archie assumes it is another misfortune drowning victim until the coroner reports the cause of death being from a puncture wound. Other corpses turn up with the same trauma. At the same time reporter Susan Ward is writing an article on a skeleton found in the ghost-town Vanport, destroyed by the 1948 flood. Archie allows the journalist to join his team as they search for a serial killer using a strange toxin.

The fourth Sheridan police procedural (see Heartsick; Sweetheart; Evil at Heart) is a refreshing tale though the hero deals with another serial killer but this time Gretchen is limited to a few moments when Archie agonizes over his mixed feelings towards the black widow. The key to the superb whodunit is the real Vanport flood of over six decades ago that will remind the audience of Katrina as Chelsea Cain brings this disaster alive to readers. Fans will enjoy Sheridan's brisk investigation of a present day psychopath and the deep look at the Vanport Flood calamity.

Harriet Klausner
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