Review #24: The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

The Night Season features two main characters from Chelsea Cain’s “Heart” series, Detective Archie Sheridan and reporter Susan Ward. It has been several months since the end of the Heart trilogy, and psychopath Gretchen Lowell is finally in jail, leaving Archie and Susan finally safe from her. Portland, Oregon is seeing the worst storm season, with the city in danger of flooding. Several people have seemingly drowned in the Willamette River. That is until the M.E. discovers some inconsistent evidence, and Archie begins investigating the case. At the same time, a 60 year old skeleton has been unearthed along the river bank. Susan becomes interested in this body, wondering whether it is related to a flooding many decades prior. The bodies begin to stack up and as the city becomes increasingly at risk of being swept away by the storm waters, Archie and Susan must race to solve the cases.

This book is a fairly quick and easy read. Archie and Susan are interesting enough characters, with Archie being emotionally damaged and closed off, and Susan being an immature “hot mess.” The two could not be more different and their friendship remains rooted in the horrors they experienced at Gretchen Lowell’s hand. Having read the previous Heart trilogy I would have liked even more exploration of Archie’s mental state, but I suppose expecting him to be reflecting or attending therapy while Portland is in a state of emergency due to the flood is asking a lot. I wasn’t particularly interested by the side story of the flooding sixty years ago, but it all tied in at the end.

Overall, and I hate to say this, the story suffered from lack of Gretchen Lowell. The Heart trilogy was a success because of the twisted relationship between Archie and Gretchen. There was no parallel of this to really grab my attention, and this, combined with a relatively lackluster serial murder story, failed to excite me about this book. It leaves me a bit curious about where Cain can go next with these characters. Is it worth continuing to write about Archie and Susan without Gretchen as a main character, or should she move on to entirely new characters? Either way the book was fine as a time passer, but nothing I felt particularly invested in.

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