Until about eighteen months ago crime fiction didn't really appeal to me, something that was swiftly changed by the arrival of a certain Chelsea Cain in my life. A friend of mine had read 'Heartsick'and sang its praises, so when I found it in a 3 for £1 sale I scooped it up. It may have been destined to stay on one of my ever higher piles neglected and unread had it not been for the fact that I had a sick day and wanted to be distracted.
The twisted relationship between Archie and Gretchen that develops throughout this series is certainly distracting, not to mention both fascinating and downright wrong. I quickly consumed the second book and later the third, leaving me well and truly hooked.
With a wait of nearly two years for the latest installment anticipation for 'The Night Season' was high...Firstly, the fact that this is billed as the latest Gretchen Lowell book is a bit misleading. Gretchen appears only briefly at the end and the book focuses much more on series regulars Archie and Susan.
The book has a solid beginning with the discovery of a 60 year old body in a river, a discovery which soon becomes entangled with the bodies being discovered in the present day. The backdrop of the novel is the massive and merciless floods attacking Portland and the scenes of chaos and destruction are described vividly and memorably.
As always Cain's writing is gripping and sparse and her characters are loveable and ones I always want to cheer for. As I neared the end of this book though I couldn't help but think things fell a little flat. It just seemed too short to tie the three threads of the story (the old corpse, the present day corpses and the mystery of a missing child) together adequately and the resolution of the story seemed a little too neat. Overall, although I enjoyed this book and read it quickly I felt like it was something of a stop gap while the ongoing enigma of Gretchen Lowell is left to develop in the background. I'll still greatly anticipate the next book in this series but I really hope it will go back to the twisted dynamics I fell for in the first place.
Star rating: 3.5 Stars