Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book Review: The Devil's Punchbowl

My bff Jen reviews books on her personal blog, and she is kind enough to allow me to post them here. (You will not find a link to her blog because she requested that I not include one.) The following is her most recent review of The Devil's Punchbowl written by Mississippi author Greg Iles.

Penn Cage is back. As mayor of Natchez, Penn hopes to better his hometown, but his plans take a backseat when he finds himself in the middle of a major crime scheme. A childhood friend of Penn's contacts him about evidence he has of crimes taking place involving employees of the Magnolia Queen casino boat. The casino is attracting high rollers from everywhere with the behind the scenes activities of dog fighting and prostitution. When Penn's friend is murdered, he vows to find the people responsible. Despite threats to himself and his family, Penn pushes on to find justice. With the help of several highly specialized and skilled friends, he uncovers loads of evidence and opens a whole new world that he never knew was in Natchez.

Just a word of warning before I start on my opinion. This book is very graphic in many ways. There are detailed descriptions of dog fighting, animal torture, etc. It's definitely not pretty and even brought tears to my eyes at one point. The fact that this is something that really happens is unbelievable. I don't understand how people think that training animals to fight and kill each other and torturing them in the process is okay. I was able to get past the gruesome details but some of you may not enjoy it or even be able to read it because of them.

I have enjoyed all of Greg Isles' books except for The Footprints of God. It was just too far fetched for me, and I couldn't open myself up to it. This is Penn Cage's third appearance (The Quiet Game and Turning Angel). I believe it is also the third or fourth book to take place in Natchez. The setting alone reels me into these books because I'm familiar with the area and can picture everything. Isles' did a great job in creating a thriller with The Devil's Punchbowl and kept me on the edge of my seat many times. There were a few parts that seemed a little outrageous and just a tiny bit too convenient or coincidental. Parts were almost like a movie where things are Hollywoodized, but they didn't ruin my enjoyment one bit.



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