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The Devil's Punchbowl (Penn Cage #3)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  9,449 ratings  ·  818 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes his most electrifying thriller yet. The Devil's Punchbowl reveals a world of depravity, sex, violence, and the corruption of a Southern town.

As a prosecuting attorney in Houston, Penn Cage sent hardened killers to death row. But it is as mayor of his hometown -- Natchez, Mississippi -- that Penn will face his most da
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ebook, 480 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Scribner (first published 2009)
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Neelansh I don't think he has a separate novel, but i do think he deserves it. I have read all the Penn Cage novels and he has the largest part in the quiet…moreI don't think he has a separate novel, but i do think he deserves it. I have read all the Penn Cage novels and he has the largest part in the quiet game. I am going through all the of Greg Iles novels this month and if i find one in which he plays a considerable part, i'll let you know.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Marie
Although a huge fan of Greg Iles, and especially enjoying the previous novels with the character of Penn Cage, had I known this book was about dogfighting I would never have bothered to pick it up. I found this book to be disturbing, disgusting and stomach churning. I had to skim over several passages because I knew if I had read them, these invoked images would have haunted me for a very long time. An avid animal lover, I just found this subject far to revolting to ever be able to consider it e ...more
Tricia-Lynn Harter-Carter
May 26, 2010 Tricia-Lynn Harter-Carter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE -- michael vick supporters
I could not put this book down. I enjoyed everything about the story, however did become frustrated with Penn Cage.

Truly a recommended read for a Vick supporter. Read the dog fighting scenes, the logic and true character of a person who actually makes it part of their overall moral character and it truly will change, IMHO, your belief in "he's done his time and all is forgiven policy," when it comes to the brutailty that Vick obviously has deep within his gene pool. All is not forgiven or forgo
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James Thane
Former Houston prosecutor Penn Cage is now the disillusioned mayor of his home town, Natchez, Mississippi. Cage never failed at anything in his life until now, and he took the office promising to bridge the divisions in the town which is losing jobs along with its best and brightest young people who are moving away in search of better opportunities elsewhere. Penn hoped to put Natchez on the track to a better future by reinvigorating the public education system and encouraging white parents who ...more
John DeDakis
I REALLY like the way this guy writes. He grabs my attention from page one and makes me keep wanting to turn pages. His characters are believable and well textured. His settings are vivid. His plotting is intricate. Each paragraph flows logically from the previous one and the writing is straightforward, not pretentious. I've only read a few of his books, beginning wth "Turning Angel," but I want to read more because he hasn't disappointed me yet.
T. Edmund
First of all I almost put the rating down to two stars, because while Punchbowl isn't is bad as some books I've read, it's 550 page length was extra-painful to get through.

Whats wrong with The Devil's Punchbowl? It suffers from a severe case of average-ness and a major overdose of waffling. For at least the first 100 pages we're blugoened with the daily life and thoughts of Penn Cage, town mayor (IMO mayor's of small town don't make compelling protaganists)

The plot is neither melodramatic enou
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Beth
Although I already have 40-some books in my wishlist, I now have to add at least one, maybe five, more. I like this book a lot.

THE DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL is my first Greg Iles book, which is the third in a series about the Penn Cage character. While Iles is good about supplying background information, so a reader can start these books out of order, THE DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL ends on a cliffhanger. Now I want to read the next and maybe the next and the next (still to be published) in the series.

In this boo
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Book Concierge
Playaway Audio book read by Dick Hill

Book three in the Penn Cage series finds our hero settled in as mayor of his hometown – Natchez Mississippi. Still he cannot help but keep certain ways of thinking that served him well as a prosecuting attorney in big-city Houston Texas. Like many other towns eager for jobs and an infusion of cash into their economies, Natchez has turned to casino gambling, and five “steamboats” float on the Mississippi River attracting tourists and locals alike. But the Magn
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Robyn
Grossly disappointed in this latest from Iles. I usually enjoy his books about character, Penn Cage. But this one did not work for me. Mainly, I think I was unable to suspend belief in common sense long enough to appreciate the plot. Case in point, most of Iles' books about Penn Cage feature a character named Daniel Kelly, a former Delta commando now working as a private security contractor. Kelly is tough, former military, and amazing well-connected. He acts as a "go to" guy who helps Cage out ...more
Richard
Oct 06, 2009 Richard rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any action fan with a strong stomach.
Recommended to Richard by: I try to read all Mr. Iles work.
Greg Iles takes us back to Natchez, MS for a tale about total evil infecting the city from a new riverboat casino. Using common stereotypes of the US South to great effect, parts of this book are so disturbing it is hard to read...that is, hard not to skip over the violence and depravity.

This time, our hero, Penn Cage is the Mayor at the midpoint of his term and questioning the wisdom of staying in office, Natchez, or even the South. How his team defends the virtue, and lives of the populace of
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Barbara
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the suspense that Iles builds throughout the book; it is extremely hard to put down. The violence can be very graphic, but seemed to be a part of the story, not just gratuitously thrown in. Below is a brief summary of events.

A former prosecuting attorney, Penn Cage is the mayor of his hometown -- Natchez, Mississippi. Urged by old friends to try to restore this city of the Old South to its former glory, Penn has taken office with strong support from the townsp
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Tez
Oy. The Devil's Punchbowl is hard reading, and not just because of its 550-page length. (Seriously, it's so physically awkward to hold open the book at times.)

Dog-fighting. It's not mentioned on the cover summary, but this is one of those things you really need to know beforehand. It's extremely graphic. DO NOT READ CHAPTER 31. I did, and I wish I hadn't. Just trust me on this. Nothing in that chapter happens plot-wise that isn't summarised later, so it's okay to skip.

The novel ends on a cliff-h
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Trudi
The only reason I read this one was that I ran out of books when I was in Turkey on vacation. One of the other travelers had finished with it and passed it on to me. In need of SERIOUS editing. It goes on and on in excruciating detail about awful things - dog fighting, rape, etc. Concentrates on the evil-doings of a group of men associated with a gambling barge moored in the Mississippi. Yuck!
Deborah
I really like how the author writes. The characters and background story are a real page turner.

The dog-fighting aspect was pretty upsetting but I got some insight into how this is done illegally. It takes a special type of person to go in there and break up this activity because it attracts a certain type of crowd and involves the exchange of money. I love animals, but bearing my head in the sand and not understanding some aspects of how things like this happen wouldnt help the situation. I lov
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Scott
These Penn Cage novels by Greg Iles are a guilty pleasure for me. As with his other novels, this one is a real page-turner, and as much as I have some misgivings about his books, he is still compulsively readable for me. He does tell an exciting story, to be sure.

This is another story where the bad guys are all of the non-Southern good-old-boy characters. At least in this one the protagonists are not spending their time obsessing over 17-year old girls (as in his previous book). Cage, ex-Assista
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Viccy
Penn Cage is two years into his term as mayor of Natchez MS. He came into office full of vigor to reform the educational system because he knows a good education is the basis for a good work force. Now, completely disillusioned by the in-fighting and obstructionism he has encountered, he wants to quit. Except, one night, his old friend, Tim Jessup, comes to him to reveal there are dangerous things happening on one of the casino barges moored at the Natchez pier, drugs, prostitution, and worst of ...more
Cara St.Hilaire
This book actually doesn't grab you from the first page. It lifts its fingers and slowly motions for you to come closer. Once you have gotten to the last sentences in Chapter 1, you are in deep and there is no return as you experience all of the gritty, testosterone driven atrocities that can be put in one book. I read this book voraciously--I stayed up way too late, I ate with my fork in one hand and book in the other, and found myself even reading a few lines while at traffic lights. It was so ...more
Denise
3.5 of 5 stars
This third Penn Cage novel went on a bit too long. By the end, I decided that I really didn't like any of the main characters and I was tired of the story. Penn, formerly a DA and author, and now the ersatz mayor of Natchez, Mississippi -- his childhood home -- and Caitlin Masters, his former girlfriend reporter who has returned home for unknown reasons, team up again in a sordid story of gambling, prostitution, dog fighting and corruption at the riverboat casinos.

Penn has to call
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Charles
This is a difficult book to read, not because of the authors writing, but rather because of the themes and subtexts that are the core of the story. Unspeakable horror and pain are inflicted for no more reason than inflicting pain for the sake of pain and satisfying a blood lust for purposes of “entertainment”. The pain and horror comes in many shades in this book - tortured painful rape, murder without feeling or conscience and disguised as “sport”. The basest human depravities are displayed fro ...more
David
This is the first time I have read anything by this author. I have to say he uses some neat metaphors and writes a thriller which moves well and has some of the great twists and turns.

The cover of this one fooled me. The cover shows some dice with an odd image on it, and I expected it would turn into some sort of an Indiana Jones expedition. I was shocked when it remained a normal thriller dealing with really bad guys and extreme violence, in this case the Devil's punchbowl was a reference to t
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Faith Mortimer
Difficult to star rate this book. 2 * means it was OK and 3* means I liked it. Well 'liked' is not a word I would necessarily use reviewing The Devil's Punchbowl.Anyway I've given it 3* because of the following;

The setting was interesting and the author described it well. Some of the characters were believable, but the 'baddies' (stereotyped Irish) were probably far too way over the top. (As usual with the majority of contempory books I've read recently the heroine was an absolute PIA.)

The writi
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Barbara
Greg Iles delivers his usual novel packed with bad guys and good. This is the continuing series that includes Penn Cage and is set in Natchez MS. Penn is no longer a practicing attorney having turned his talents to writing novels. He has also been Mayor of Natchez for the past 2 years and is disappointed at how slowly things go as he tries to make the positive changes he promised in his campaign. The only thing that is bringing any prosperity to the city are the gambling boats.

Turns out that's n
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Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrice Hoffman
This is book 3 in the Penn Cage series. It's an exciting ride this book. The pages of this novel fly by. I didn't even notice that the copy I was reading was 700+ pages. Although I have come to appreciate and really enjoy every book I have read by this author, this book in particular is pretty touching. I don't think it's giving anything away by informing the reader that this book deals with issues regarding animal cruelty. I'm no member of PETA, nor do I have a zoo in the backyard. I simply jus ...more
Lindig
I've read a few books by this author and liked them okay. I remember liking "Turning Angel" pretty well. Something has happened, though, and this novel and the one previous to it have failed to hold my interest. Partially, I think it's the bloated size of the books, helped along by the hero's ruminations and self-regrets and guilt and self-analysis etc etc.

Oh yeah, I don't think much of his women, either -- I mean the way he writes about women and the dialogue he has them speaking.

Going off on t
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Travis McConnell
absolutely awful. this book was all set up for what was supposed to come next. I love dogs as much as the next guy, but the main character says that the cases of rape and murder he's seen are worse than the pics he saw of dogfights.... really? maybe I'm too apathetic about dogfights, but I've simply never cared about them enough to even class them under unspeakable evil. I kept waiting for something worse, and yes some worse things do happen but they all take a back-burner to the dog fighting. I ...more
Carol
This book was about 350 pages to long, filled with extraneous stuff just to make it look epic. Usually his books hold your interest right from the start. This one had areas you could totally skip and it still not affect the story line. Why does everyone feel they have to write something about Katerina and the Irish rebels. When you come across the crux of the story it gets interesting, then he bogs it down again with unnecessary junk. This book was a disappointment to me.

It is not heavy reading
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Betty
I didn't enjoy this book as much as i usually enjoy a Greg Iles book. Part of that was that the bad guys were so completely over the top as to be unbelievable. At least the good guys weren't similarly lacking in nuance. The bigger part of it, though, was the narration of the audiobook. The Southern accents, especially the female characters, were really forced and unnatural. I think the book would have benefitted with a straight narration, as opposed to a more theatrical "acting" approach.
Minty McBunny
As with many other reviewers I find this book hard to rate due to the disturbing content. I am giving it the same rating I gave Natchez Burning, but my feelings about the two books are very different. Natchez Burning lost a star because after starting as a compelling civil rights mystery/family drama/cultural examination of the South, it devolves into an over the top mess of implausible Harlan Coben style violence. It also could have used a good editor, as the story tended to meander in places a ...more
Johanna
The second Penn Cage novel was an elegiac ode to mysoginistic perverts. So the good news here is that in this third novel of the series, Iles seems to have decided that middle-aged men having sex with underage girls is now an irredeemably Bad Thing.

The bad news is that the Devil's Punchbowl leaves the courtroom behind, depriving readers of the kinds of courtroom scenes that helped make the Quiet Game fun to read. I suspect that Iles was less interested in writing a mystery than he was in writing
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Marla
There were many parts of this book that were 4 stars. But I couldn't get past the Korean War vets conducting paramilitary missions like 25 year old men. It seemed very Hollywood and I kept picturing Clint Eastwood in a starring role. But the mystery was good as well as the setting of Natchez, MS. It made me wish I had stopped in Natchez when I had the chance this summer.
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The Devl's Punch Bowl 7 44 Jul 14, 2015 08:49PM  
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Greg Iles was born in Germany in 1960. He grew up in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. He was active in a band called "Frankly Scarlet", but quit after realizing that the touring lifestyle was not conducive with his family life. Once no longer busy with the band, he turned his attention to writing.

Greg's novels have been translated into various languag
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More about Greg Iles...

Other Books in the Series

Penn Cage (6 books)
  • The Quiet Game (Penn Cage, #1)
  • Turning Angel (Penn Cage, #2)
  • Natchez Burning (Penn Cage, #4)
  • The Bone Tree
  • Unwritten Laws (Penn Cage, #6)
The Quiet Game (Penn Cage, #1) Turning Angel (Penn Cage, #2) Natchez Burning (Penn Cage, #4) Blood Memory (Mississipi #5) True Evil

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“When everything is at risk, good judgment, not haste, makes the difference between life and death. Panic is the enemy.” 7 likes
“Whenever life gets too good, whenever fate hands you something wonderful, something else gets taken away.” 3 likes
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