Samantha's Reviews > The Devil's Punchbowl

The Devil's Punchbowl by Greg Iles
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's review
May 16, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: suspense-thriller
Read from April 20 to May 08, 2010 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** The two biggest things I didn't like about this book were: (1) It is written mostly in first person, and (2) the protagonist, Penn Cage. He is my least favorite of all of Iles' characters.

That being said, I knew both of those things were present going in to this book. However, I thought Iles' storytelling talent would prevail and I would manage to push these annoyances to the back of my mind. I, unfortunately, was wrong.

The story seemed promising: Penn is approached by an old high school friend who shows him evidence that heinous and illegal things are occurring on one of Natchez, Mississippi's most popular casino boats, the Magnolia Queen. Being mayor of Natchez and not one to back down from a challenge, he decides to investigate. What happens after that stretches the imagination and elicits more than one eye-roll over the span of 707 pages.

There's dogfighting (the description of which made my skin crawl), there's underage prostitution (which Iles mercifully decides not to describe), there's political corruption, and there's a collection of Irish thugs behind all of it. These Irish baddies ruthlessly kill their enemies and feed them to their fighting dogs to hide the evidence of their murders. And they're threatening Penn and his family. *cue the music of doom*

But Penn has his own allies. Big, powerful, super-awesome ones. And they of course all drop everything to help their buddy Penn with his little problem. One, Daniel Kelly: Lethal Weapon, even comes all the way from Afghanistan to lend a hand. *insert eye roll here* There's also a helicopter pilot, a sniper, and a Texas Ranger (whose entire subplot basically has no point, but which, ironically, is the most interesting one). And don't forget Penn's former flame, Caitlin Masters, the fiery, feisty news woman who still owns Penn's heart (and apparently his balls, too).

Things go from bad to worse. Penn and his crew find themselves embroiled in a conflict that has dangerous and far-reaching consequences. The FBI and Homeland Security are involved and want Penn to butt out. But Penn can't let the bad guy get away with murder in his beloved little town! No way! So of course he finds a way to get his man and the girl, too, in the end. (Caitlin asks him to marry her and music and rainbows fill the air.)

Oh, and the main bad guy's henchman gets fed to alligators. Nice.

For me, the book was too long, the story too convoluted, and the hero too self-righteous. I love Greg Iles, but this book disappointed me.
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04/20/2010 page 34
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