Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Night Season Continues the Archie Sheridan Saga & Delves Into Portland's History

The funny thing about reading is this: you may loathe a book that gets rave reviews, and conversely, you may enjoy a book that received poor ratings. You see, that's the thing about reading. It's immensely personal. Almost more than films, or even food, book preferences are a deeply individualized taste. It's difficult to recommend books, and for that reason even the reader that relies on other reviewers for advice sometimes has to go with his or her gut.

That's exactly what I did when it came to Chelsea Cain's latest novel The Night Season. After the first three books in her Archie Sheridan/ Gretchen Lowell series rocketed upwards on bestseller lists, critics and bloggers seemed to agree that the novel didn't quite work. I will wholeheartedly admit that they have some valid points. However, that didn't stop me from enjoying reading it.

The series, which has previously focused greatly on serial killer Gretchen Lowell, takes a marked shift in this fourth installment. Instead of continuously harping on Lowell and her crimes, Cain instead makes The Night Season more of a character-driven tale featuring homicide detective Archie, newspaper reporter Susan Ward, and Archie's longtime partner and friend Henry. Although Gretchen was a driving force behind the previous three novels, her incessant evilness got to be a bit too much for me. I was happy to allow the other characters a chance to shine with her safely behind bars.

Cain also employs a rather unique method of murder in The Night Season, as well as the insertion of some Portland-area history. Both of these served as turn-offs for some readers, but did not strike me the same way. I have read many a mystery, and although the murder weapon in this book is entirely unique, it didn't strike me as being as bizarre as some readers felt it was. The historical flashbacks, on the other hand, were wonderful additions to Cain's story. As Portland floods in The Night Season's present-day setting, Cain features flashbacks to a devastating flood that actually occurred in the 1940s

Although I wouldn't call The Night Season my favorite Chelsea Cain book, I also didn't detest it. In fact, I quite enjoyed my time reading it, and read it rather quickly to find out "whodunnit." For more from Cain, check out her previous novels in this series: Heartsick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart. For a previous post from A Worn Path about the series (and a review of Evil at Heart), click here.

1 comment:

  1. I was fortunate enough to read an early copy of this one before it came out and form my own opinions before I read the reviews. While it is a big departure for the series, I adore the character of Susan (I'm quite drawn to journalists in general) and found the Portland history aspect quite intriguing. I enjoyed it, but I can see why those expecting another Gretchen showdown were left wanting.



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