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The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

The Night Season (edition 2011)

by Chelsea Cain

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3983127,097 (3.59)28
Title:The Night Season
Authors:Chelsea Cain
Info:Minotaur Books (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, 2011, portland, flood

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The Night Season by Chelsea Cain



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Cross-posted to Knite Writes


Portland is on the verge of a major flood, and Archie is looking for another serial killer. With Gretchen locked up again, Archie can finally concentrate on catching the other numerous serial killers apparently operating in Oregon. This time, he finds himself looking for a guy that uses a rare poison to kill people.

And by “rare poison,” I mean he kills people using tiny, poisonous octopi. Let that sit for a minute.

Susan, naturally, gets herself involved in the case as she’s attempting to write about a flood that wiped out a town near Portland several decades ago.

Long story short, Susan gets herself captured along with one of Archie’s team members, Heil, who ends up getting bit by one of the octopi and dies. Then Susan gets dragged by the murderer to the source of his octopus collection in the middle of the freaking flood, and Archie has to track them down before it’s too late.

And this time, Archie doesn’t have Henry to help him — Henry gets bitten by the octopus, too, but he lives and spends the book in critical condition in the hospital.

Archie, being the hero, gets to Susan and the killer in time (and the little boy the killer kidnapped and has been using as a sort of assistant). But the flood barrier that everyone’s been desperately trying to build throughout the book breaks, and a huge torrent floods the area where Archie and the killer are having a showdown. Archie loses Susan and the kid, but he manages to kill the murderer.

Susan finds herself in the middle of the flooded river, unable to stay afloat, and she drowns. But have no fear! Archie, with the help of a rescue team in a boat, dives into the river and grabs her in the nick of time. She is resuscitated by the medics on scene and goes to the hospital to recover.

Unfortunately, Archie thinks he’s lost the kid. Until he remembers that park he found a body in at the beginning of the story! Ha ha! He finds the kid there and returns him to his terrified parents.

Henry lives. Susan lives. Archie lives (with pneumonia).

And Gretchen has a hearing at the end of the book to determine whether or not she’s mentally ill.


My Take

I’ve seen people complaining about Gretchen not being in this one, but I honestly think it was a breath of fresh air compared the weirdness of book three. Cain does a good job showing how Archie operates when Gretchen isn’t in the picture, which is something it’s been really hard to ascertain thus far given Gretchen’s overwhelming influence on him.

I think it was interesting to see some Archie development that wasn’t directly related to his connection with Gretchen, especially concerning his feelings toward Susan, his team, Henry, and the kidnapped boy. We got to dig a lot deeper into Archie’s sacrificial hero complex and thoughts about himself as a leader. It’s a side of him that has long been overshadowed by his obsessiveness toward Gretchen and her mind games with him.

Of course, the whole octopus thing still makes me laugh every time I think about it. Seriously? A unique murder weapon, sure, but it’s kind of ridiculous to think about using that thing to actually kill people. I kept trying to picture it. It was a little out there.

And yet, I still found this one more plausible than book three. Take that as you will.



No further comments on Cain’s writing style. My review for Heartsick covered it pretty well.


Is It Worth Reading?

Yeah, I liked this one. Go for it. Again, if you’re reading the series and like it, there’s no point in skipping this one. Unless you can’t stand the idea of a book without Gretchen.



( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Unable to stay away, I started this September 12th, 2013.
Totally different setting with a serial-killer-chase during a natural disaster-flood.
Regrettably not much Gretchen, but a reasonably high body-count.
Cannot agree with some of the other reviews that this is the worst book in the series and recommend this page-turner.
Why not 5 stars? First, Susan Ward is bit much and gets on my nerves. To go into details would spoil some of the plot, a few scenes with her acting just dumb and not putting some clues together before she steps into just another trap is not very realistic imho. And then, I read this series for Gretchen and she is only at the end of the book for a short, not even full scene.
With that in mind, that is not a "Gretchen"-book, it is still very good.
If you only read this series for Gretchen, well you may skip this one.
( )
  Ingo.Lembcke | Oct 27, 2015 |
This book is the fourth in the Archie Sheridan series and with Gretchen Lowell finally safely behind bars we move on to another serial killer; one with a penchant for aquatic life and, a strange weapon of choice. Set during a season of torrential rainstorms and an imminent flood the setting is as exciting as the crimes. Ms. Cain draws on some real life history of the Portland area by including the Vanport flood in the book as a concurrent story. Sounds confusing but it really works, especially when the two storylines come together in the last few pages.

Although “The Beauty Killer” does get a few mentions and makes a cameo appearance in this book, I enjoyed the book more because of her absence. She made for a good story in the first Archie Sheridan books, but for me, was getting a little tiresome and irritating by the end of the third. It was nice to see a fresh adventure for Archie, Susan and Henry
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
This book is different from the other books in this series that I've read so far in that Gretchen doesn't really play a role in it! It's a relieve actually, now Chelsea Cain focusses on the solving of an actual crime instead of just the relationship between Gretchen and Archie.

Because, I did like to see the development in there (not for the better), but now I read a more 'normal' novel without it, it was actually a nice break, and a lot better for the plot. The writing style is still very fast, which helps to make this again a nice and quick read. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
This was an easygoing fast-paced reading. The plot was fascinating due to how the murders have been done. There were several stories linked to each other and everything started in the past but unfortunately with a lot of misapprehensions and ignorance. It was looking like time was running out and only at the very end it was clear how all links were related.
It was very gripping and I liked it. ( )
  Ameise1 | Oct 19, 2014 |
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REMEMBER: DIKES ARE SAFE AT PRESENT. YOU WILL BE WARNED IF NECESSARY. YOU WILL HAVE TIME TO LEAVE. DON'T GET EXCITED. --Statement issued by the Housing Authority of Portland to the people of Vanport, Oregon, on May 30, 1948
For my husband, Marc Mohan. Go, Pack!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312619766, Hardcover)

With the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Archie Sheridan—a Portland police detective and nearly one of her victims—can finally rest a little easier. Meanwhile, the rest of the city of Portland is in crisis. Heavy rains have flooded the Willamette River, and several people have drowned in the quickly rising waters. Or at least that’s what they thought until the medical examiner discovers that the latest victim didn’t drown: She was poisoned before she went into the water. Soon after, three of those drownings are also proven to be murders. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case.

Reporter Susan Ward is chasing this story of a new serial killer with gusto, but she’s also got another lead to follow for an entirely separate mystery: The flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died more than sixty years ago, the last time Portland flooded this badly, when the water washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least fifteen people.

With Archie following the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch a killer and possibly regain his life, and Susan Ward close behind, Chelsea Cain—one of today’s most talented suspense writers—launches the next installment of her bestselling series with an electric thriller.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

River levels are high in Portland when a woman walking her dog comes across the skeleton of a young black man, murdered over fifty years ago. Journalist, Susan Ward investigates. Meanwhile, Detective Archie Sheridan and his team have turned their attention to child-killer Ryan Motley, trained by the notorious Gretchen Lowell. The task force must pursue a series of mysterious clues from Gretchen, one of which leads to a Vanport flood survivor, who happens to be the grandfather of a murdered child. Then, when another child is found murdered, Archie's investigation takes on a new urgency.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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