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Publisher's Summary

As a prosecuting attorney Penn Cage sent hardened killers to death row. But it is as mayor of his hometown that he will face his most dangerous enemy.
In its quest for new jobs and fresh money, the town of Natchez has turned to gambling. Five fantastical steamboats float on the river, but one boat isn’t like the others. Rumour has it that the Magnolia Queen has found a way to pull in the big players. And with them comes an unquenchable taste for blood sport, and the dark vices that go with it.
When a childhood friend of Penn’s, who brings him evidence of the sickening crimes, is murdered, he begins a dangerous quest to find those responsible.
©2009 Greg Iles (P)2010 Isis Publishing Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By antonio on 04-18-15

This time Greg Iles overdoes.....

Our favorite hero –Penn Cage- is approached by on old classmate friend who works as a blackjack dealer on one of the casino boats (The Devil’s Punchbowl). The friend reports -before being savagely murdered- of vicious activities (drugs, prostitution, money laundry, rapes and vicious dog fighting) being orchestrated by the casino manager.
As usual, Greg Iles knows how to build the plot with both suspense and drama gradually growing so that the reader gets irresistibly hooked to the story. I honestly could not resist and went through the 23 hours of reading in a few days. However I felt afterwards as someone having had too much junk food in a short time. Like for junk food, the basic ingredients of the book are simple and basically appealing: terrifying bad guys, a fast paced action, a bit of sex and a good hero. However, here everything is in excessive doses: the bad guys are way too bad and good guys lily white (so much for character complexity…) . Violence is at gore movies level and toward the second half the story gets so fast paced that you feel being in a Road Runner and Wile E Coyote movie (so much for the sense of drama… ).
Jeff Harding comes across a very rhetoric, which, given the context, does not help….

I enjoyed this way less than the others Greg Iles books. However, to be honest, I think that I will not resist and shall read the next one (Nantchez burning). At times junk food makes you feel good…… (or simply full ?!)

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Customer Reviews

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By Samantha on 03-06-10

another fantastic listen

I have listened to all of the Greg Iles books narrated by the fabulous jeff Harding. Great story, draws you in from the beginning, and Mr Hardings narration is so masterful. I listened at EVERY oppportunity.
I love Greg Iles stories about the South, you get to learn a lot about the politics, habits , lifestyles and day to day experiences of people living there, and his novels are ALWAYS exciting, with a hook that draws you in and inevitably gets you hot under the collar for one rason or another.
HIGHLY recommended

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By sarahmoose2000 on 12-30-11

Gamblers and Rogues

The town mayor is approached by an old school friend, to help prove the manager of the gambling boat is up to illegal misdoings. This was a tense and fast-paced listen, but I had to subtract a star as I've never felt I had to fast forward a book before, but the description of a pit bull fight was so distressing I had to. Worth a listen if you skip the fight, as Jeff Harding is a great narrator.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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