Reviewed by Elizabeth Talbott

Gretchen Lowell, the Beauty Killer, is finally safely locked up so Archie Sheridan can focus on other things. Their love-hate relationship is finally laid to rest and Archie has become much healthier. He no longer pops pills as if they were candy and attends his therapy sessions religiously.

There isn’t much time to relax as the torrential, heavy rains cause the Willamette River to rise to the cusp of flooding. As a result, drownings are becoming a more frequent occurrence; upon closer analysis, the drownings seem to be linked by a strange mark found on the palm of each victim. Archie is on the case with quirky, nosy, indomitable Susan Ward. The increasingly unruly weather makes it harder for them to do their job and easier for the killer to disguise his actions. Can Susan and Archie catch the killer before they become victims themselves?

When I found out that Gretchen Lowell wasn’t going to be featured in The Night Season, I was a bit wary of being bored or having the book not measure up to the rest of the series. Her presence is so magnetic and her and Archie’s relationship is as sick and twisted as they come. However, I found out that Chelsea Cain’s writing speaks for itself and doesn’t need Gretchen Lowell at all to be incredibly addictive. It still has the same fluidity and holds my interest until I’m staying up at all hours of the night just to find out what happens.

Gretchen’s absence also allowed Archie Sheridan and Susan Ward to develop without her corrupting influence. Archie stopped most of his self destructive behaviors and is as healthy as he can be with extensive liver damage, scars, and no spleen. Susan also has a larger role in the story than she has had in the past and together, they make an odd, yet strangely harmonious mystery-solving pair.

The new killer is interesting enough with a very strange mode of murder, but the real star of The Night Seasonis the threatening flood. It makes simple, inane things very difficult and fills each scene with tension that builds until the climax at the end of the novel. It’s almost as if the flood is a looming, silent character that is omnipresent and without human emotions.

I enjoyed The Night Season immensely and I highly recommend it to fans of mysteries or books about serial killers. This book could be read as a stand alone, but it’s better to read the rest of the series to fully understand the relationships and motivations of the characters.

Rating: 4.5/5

Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read her blog here: http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.