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The Devil's Punchbowl | [Greg Iles]

The Devil's Punchbowl

As a prosecutor in Houston, Penn Cage sent killers to death row. But as mayor of his hometown - Natchez, Mississippi - Penn will face his most dangerous threat. Urged by old friends to try to restore this fading jewel of the Old South, Penn has ridden into office on a tide of support for change. But in its quest for new jobs and fresh money, Natchez has turned to casino gambling, and now five steamboats float on the river beside the old slave market, like props from Gone With the Wind.
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Publisher's Summary

As a prosecutor in Houston, Penn Cage sent killers to death row. But as mayor of his hometown - Natchez, Mississippi - Penn will face his most dangerous threat. Urged by old friends to try to restore this fading jewel of the Old South, Penn has ridden into office on a tide of support for change. But in its quest for new jobs and fresh money, Natchez has turned to casino gambling, and now five steamboats float on the river beside the old slave market, like props from Gone With the Wind.

But one boat isn't like the others.

Rumor has it that the Magnolia Queen has found a way to pull the big players from Las Vegas to its Mississippi backwater. And with them - on sleek private jets that slip in and out of town like whispers in the night - come pro football players, rap stars, and international gamblers, all sharing an unquenchable taste for one thing: blood sport - and the dark vices that go with it. When a childhood friend of Penn's who brings him evidence of these crimes is brutally murdered, he begins a quest to find the men responsible. But the local authorities have been corrupted by the money and power of his hidden enemy and, with his family's lives at stake, Penn realizes his only allies are those bound to him by blood or honor.

Together they must defeat a killer who has an almost preternatural ability to anticipate - and counter - their every move. Ultimately, victory will depend on a bold stroke that will leave one of Penn's allies dead - and Natchez changed forever.

©2009 Greg Iles; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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3.9 (590 )
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  •  
    Kristine Winthrop Harbor, Israel 04-13-10
    Kristine Winthrop Harbor, Israel 04-13-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very well done!"

    I really enjoyed this latest book by Greg Iles. The story was a bit graphic, but it was a necessary part of the overall tone. What I found difficult to handle was the narration by Dick Hill. While his accent was very realistic, I found that I had to continually adjust the volume throughout the narration due to Mr. Hill's inflection moving from loud to barely a whisper. It was extremely distracting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meg 09-07-09
    Meg 09-07-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    ""ugh""

    I can only agree with the previous reviews, I like Greg Iles books. I hated the narration. Horrible fake southern accent. When he read for the women, it was like chewing glass to listen to it: screeching, high pitched and irritating.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-01-09
    Edward Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "way below average"

    I don't know whether the book itself is boring or whether the narrator pushed it in that direction, but in either case, the story line seemed quite predictable, the ending totally manufactured and the characters ... well cardboard would be a compliment.
    But worst of all was the narration which was often unintelligible and at its best condescending to the South.
    Pas this one by.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele SANTA MONICA, CA, USA 08-03-09
    Michele SANTA MONICA, CA, USA 08-03-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "You need a better reader"

    The man who reads this book is poor at women's conversation. All the female dialog sounds weak and pitiful. It was very annoying.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete 07-27-09
    Pete 07-27-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "sound quality is awful"

    This is the first time I've had to quit listening due to poor sound quality. Others have remarked on narration sounding garbled and I agree.I enjoy Mr. Iles stories and would try again but this one was a lemon. Save your money and skip this audio.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lydia Mandeville, LA, United States 07-19-09
    Lydia Mandeville, LA, United States 07-19-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best yet!"

    Even though this book in the audio format is long, I found myself wishing it would never end. The author accurately portrays the deep South and the narrator has the perfect "southern" inflection nailed! The writing style of Mr. Iles and the voice of Dick Hill makes this book one of the best listening experiences I have had in a long time. I am anxiously awaiting the next one!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Woody 07-23-09
    Woody 07-23-09
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    "Atrocious narration, story OK not great"

    I couldn't agree more with the comments about how distracting the narrator is. His pseudo-Southern accent and poor volume modulation eventually drove me to rebuy this book in the Kindle version, on which the remainder of this review is based.

    The Devil's Punchbowl is more of a summer read ("beach book"), long on plot and relatively short on character development, than are the two previous Penn Cage novels. This is especially true if you haven't already been introduced to Penn Cage, his family, and his love interest, Caitlin Masters. The plot stands on its own, but I didn't think the book gave the same insights into character motivation that The Quiet Game did.

    If this is your first Penn Cage novel, I'd suggest you choose The Quiet Game instead.

    The character development in The Quiet Game is top notch and the plot revolves around a Houston DA who returns to his childhood home in Natchez, MS and gets involved in solving a civil rights murder that took place in 1968. The combination of compelling characters, deep insight into the Southern mentality, and a fascinating plot made for a superb book. The second Penn Cage novel, Turning Angel, was almost equally good.

    The Devil's Punchbowl, on the other hand, stretched the limits of credulity somewhat (plot involves international gambling ring) and has less local color that the two previous books in the series. And the graphic descriptions of dog fights and the way fighting dogs are mistreated are quite unpleasant. To be fair, the dog fight theme is integral to the story line, not merely gratuitous. But if this sort of thing bothers you, you might think twice. In fact, had this not been a novel written by one of my favorite authors, I probably would never have read past the first dog fight scene.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-16-09
    07-16-09 Listener Since 2009
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    "Another Great Greg Iles Book"

    Another great book by this author. All of Greg Iles's work has kept me totally into the story and not willing to shut it off. Iles captures the essence of the deep south in his stories of Natchez and the Mississippi River. Dick Hill's narration is superb. Keep them coming Greg Iles and I will keep buying them!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaye E Steeno New Braunfels, TX, US 07-12-10
    Kaye E Steeno New Braunfels, TX, US 07-12-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Way Too Long"

    I usually like a long book because I get more entertainment for my money. This book is the exception because it is long without saying much. In the hard copy of the book there must be pages of rhetoric about Natchez and the public school problem that I would have simply skipped, but that is hard to do with an audio book. I listened, bored to tears, as Penn went on and on about the things he wanted to change in Natchez. When the climax to the story finally happened I was relieved that the book was nearly over; then it goes on for more than an hour. Finally, just as thing are wrapping up, the writer leaves us with a suspenseful ending. The story line is basically a good one, just much too long for me.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Glenview, IL, United States 10-07-09
    Todd Glenview, IL, United States 10-07-09 Member Since 2009

    Electrical Engineer, 51 years old father of 3.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another great story from Greg Iles"

    I love the story that Greg tells and even better the way he telles it. Penn Cage and his father have some really cool friends and all come to play in this novel. Great work I am looking forward to Greg's next book.
    Dick Hill is a master.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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