Customer Reviews for

The Devil's Punchbowl

Average Rating 4
( 181 )
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5 Star

(82)

4 Star

(51)

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(28)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

If you are really ready to dive into The Devil's Punchbowl, the title says it all!

Fast, evil, thrilling and disturbing book that I could not put down. I loved it and hated some of the characters. If you want to see how The Devil lives, you will catch a glimpse of it in this book, in my opinion. The book takes you into the underground of gambling. Dis...
Fast, evil, thrilling and disturbing book that I could not put down. I loved it and hated some of the characters. If you want to see how The Devil lives, you will catch a glimpse of it in this book, in my opinion. The book takes you into the underground of gambling. Disturbing details of dogfighting and violence to women. I thought it was written well and very entertaining. The story will stay with me. What a wonderful mind Greg Iles has!

posted by Lynda166 on August 16, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

This Read Is An Affront To Your Intelligence

Greg Isles has stood out as one of the better thriller writers because of his tightly woven plots, plausible storylines, true characters and realistic dialogues. On all of these fronts he has failed miserably with this new effort. The plot is incohesive with numerous u...
Greg Isles has stood out as one of the better thriller writers because of his tightly woven plots, plausible storylines, true characters and realistic dialogues. On all of these fronts he has failed miserably with this new effort. The plot is incohesive with numerous unexplained, apparent importance placed on missing, hidden, encrypted data. Dialogue is often trite and spoken out-of character. Out-of-character behavior flaws one of the heroes. The story is pieced together by overly contrived or inexplicable occurrences and unbelievable, sudden conversions by persons on one side or the other. How does a medical examiner obtain physical evidence from the D.A.'s office? Another one, out of many, examples of this preposterous tale has a handbound lady jumping into the Mississippi and surviving without any hint or explanation as to how her hands become unbound, only to be recaptured to tightly selfbind her own hands once again before her final exit. How does one selfbind their own hands with a pair of panties? How does a character mauled by vicious dogs, who we are told will eat their victims and excrete their body parts, have enough of a body left to cremate? I could go on and on, but you have to read this nonsense for yourself to believe how bad it is and the more I write the angrier I get for being sucked into buying this book. Isle's Penn Cage novels have not been as good as his others, primarily because writing in the first person with the protagonist as narrator softens all of the thrills. After all, how could the narrator die and also complete the book. I never understood this method of writing for this genre. Lastly, the book ends with the onset of another life/death situation befalling a main character that is, according to the author's notes, to be taken up in next year's Penn Cage novel, which I will have no interest in reading. Sorry Greg, I am not taking the bait in a ploy reminiscent of one of Vince Flynns effort to get his readers to buy a sequel. You lost at least one fan with this garbage.

posted by Brewer on July 22, 2009

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    If you are really ready to dive into The Devil's Punchbowl, the title says it all!

    Fast, evil, thrilling and disturbing book that I could not put down. I loved it and hated some of the characters. If you want to see how The Devil lives, you will catch a glimpse of it in this book, in my opinion. The book takes you into the underground of gambling. Disturbing details of dogfighting and violence to women. I thought it was written well and very entertaining. The story will stay with me. What a wonderful mind Greg Iles has!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This Read Is An Affront To Your Intelligence

    Greg Isles has stood out as one of the better thriller writers because of his tightly woven plots, plausible storylines, true characters and realistic dialogues. On all of these fronts he has failed miserably with this new effort. The plot is incohesive with numerous unexplained, apparent importance placed on missing, hidden, encrypted data. Dialogue is often trite and spoken out-of character. Out-of-character behavior flaws one of the heroes. The story is pieced together by overly contrived or inexplicable occurrences and unbelievable, sudden conversions by persons on one side or the other. How does a medical examiner obtain physical evidence from the D.A.'s office? Another one, out of many, examples of this preposterous tale has a handbound lady jumping into the Mississippi and surviving without any hint or explanation as to how her hands become unbound, only to be recaptured to tightly selfbind her own hands once again before her final exit. How does one selfbind their own hands with a pair of panties? How does a character mauled by vicious dogs, who we are told will eat their victims and excrete their body parts, have enough of a body left to cremate? I could go on and on, but you have to read this nonsense for yourself to believe how bad it is and the more I write the angrier I get for being sucked into buying this book. Isle's Penn Cage novels have not been as good as his others, primarily because writing in the first person with the protagonist as narrator softens all of the thrills. After all, how could the narrator die and also complete the book. I never understood this method of writing for this genre. Lastly, the book ends with the onset of another life/death situation befalling a main character that is, according to the author's notes, to be taken up in next year's Penn Cage novel, which I will have no interest in reading. Sorry Greg, I am not taking the bait in a ploy reminiscent of one of Vince Flynns effort to get his readers to buy a sequel. You lost at least one fan with this garbage.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intense

    I bought this book based on Greg Iles being the writer because 24 Hours was definitely a 5 Star read. This book was about corruption in the world of casino riverboats on the Mississippi River. For the most part, this book moved right along and kept your attention. The dog fighting and the cruelty to animals was heartbreaking. I really enjoyed the authors writing style but thought that near the end of the book, he was slow in wrapping up the story. I definitely did not like the ending.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What a disappointment

    I've been a long time fan of Greg Isles, but this book was a major disappointment. And this is a shame because all the elements of a good book were present, just not developed. To begin with, the storyline just kept going in circles to the extent I felt about 300 pages could be eliminated with no loss to the book. Penn Cage came across as weak and most of the time I felt as though I was reading his rambling confessional which served no purpose. Other characters, such as Walt Garrity and Kelly were strong only to end up as throw aways. The blood and gore of dogfighting was thrown in to sensationalize and added no value to the story. I hope Mr. Isles doesn't go the route of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell in thinking he needs graphic details to sell his stories. He's a good writer and in the past has presented interesting plots. This one was a stinker.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2009

    Audio Version Hard to understand

    I purchased the audio CD version of this book and am finding it almost impossible to understand. It is not enjoyable to listen to because I have to strain to understand what is being said. Whether real or made up, the reader's accent is hard to understand and his voice fades away for dramatic affect continuously through the narration, making it necessary to constantly readjust the volume. I would not recommend purchase of this book on CD.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An exhilarating thriller

    Former Houston prosecutor Penn Cage is elected mayor of his hometown Natchez, Mississippi on an economic platform to save the dying city. Currently five steamboats off the old slave market square offers casino gambling. With the looser atmosphere comes the high rollers and along with that Penn knows come vice and crime.

    His childhood friend card dealer Tim Jessup tells Penn that the casinos offer dog fighting and dangerous sexual activity. Tim promises to bring proof to Penn, but before he can, he is found viciously murdered as a warning to other do-gooders. However, those running the illegal show while city officialdom wink threaten Penn and his family as they believe Tim gave him evidence as they tortured that confession out of him before they killed him. Another friend sneaks Penn's family out of town; knowing his tweener daughter is safe the mayor is ready to clean up the floating casinos though their enemy seems to anticipate every move made against him.

    The return of Penn (see TURNING ANGEL and THE QUIET GAME) is an exhilarating thriller that never slows down once Tim warns him about what is happening on the casino boats. Penn remains an ethical individual who refuses to turn away from the crime especially the violence as several other leading citizens prefer to do. Fans will relish Greg Iles strong tale of gambling on the Mississippi to bring jobs, but part of the employment opportunities are illegal and dangerous.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2009

    Fantasy Not Fiction

    Greg Isles was recommended to me as one of the best thriller writers of this generation. You have got to be kidding. You have to make the story believable for me to enjoy a thriller. This story has more holes than swiss cheese and more unexplained occurrences than all UFOs and Nessie sightings added together. If this was submitted as an English paper it would get a passing grade of D-, although I would be tempted take out the red Pen with a big F. I have no idea if this is an aberation, but I will never waste my time with another book by this author to find out.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    Dark and Evil Surfaces

    Life is not the wonderful situation we think it is, but this story is much too steeped in the sheer sickness of the human condition and the minds of those that see everything as their own private tool for their own means. The mystery is a bit weak, as there are times when the "heroes" should have met with their timely end, but did not. The issues of the treatment of women and animals is beyond any words for me and I found it totally an attention getter. Much too obvious for such a fine writer as Mr. Iles.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Just too violent

    I have loved Greg Iles books up to this point. "Turning Angel" is my favorite to date. I do expect violence from an Iles book, but I felt like this book had too much, too disturbing content. It could have been dialed down quite a bit and not hurt the plot. I will say I really enjoyed Walt Garrity and Daniel Mcdavit being part of the story.

    It's my least favorite book of Iles, but I have hope he will return to winning form in the next book. Hopefully it won't take a year and half to do it this time either.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2009

    A DIFFICULT READ AND IMPOSSIBLE AUDIO BOOK....

    The is one of Greg Iles WORST books yet. It is too long, too ridiculous and too difficult to plod through.
    As stated before, the audio book version is impossible to understand in several parts. Usually, I enjoy anything read by Dick Hill, but he "over acts" to the point of distraction.
    Don't waste your time.... you'll feel as though you're trapped in the Devil's Punchbowl.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2009

    disappointing

    So far, I'm halfway thru the book and it's definitely not as good as his other books.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    Brutal and Unbelievable

    I really enjoyed the first two books in this series; however this one is just over the top is so many ways. The brutal violence to both humans and animals is really hard to take. There are many instances where a quick reference to what's happening would have been sufficient, but the author chooses to go into graphic detail. We get it--the bad guys are REALLY BAD, but a lot of the violence seemed gratuitous and the ending a little unbelievable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    Exciting from cover to cover. No dull spots at all.But not for young readers. Deals with adult topics of torture, rape and extreme cruelty

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    Another great job by Iles

    Great book -- perfect for a rainy day! Griping plot and interesting characters. As a dog lover, I'm glad he took on the topic of dog fighting but some of the scenes were difficult/impossible for me to read. Too upsetting!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorite authors...

    Greg Iles is one of my favorite authors, although, I found this story a bit more disturbing and intense than some of his other books. There were times when I had to put the book down and walk away for a while. Southern fiction interests me because I always find the characters to be fascinating and intriguing, just because of their southern traditions, etc. They are both in this book, with a dash of sinister and evil mixed in. I have followed the character of Penn Cage and that is what interested me in buying the book in the first place. I don't consider The Devil's Punchbowl to be his best, but, I haven't given up on him as an author.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2009

    Not For The Squeamish

    This is a fabulous book, but the graphic cruelty and mayhem sometimes can be too much. This is classic good versus evil. I found myself wanting to continue the read in all haste, but being slowed by the animal cruelty sections.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    Pheonomenal reading

    I could NOT put this book down. Found myself pulling up a chair at Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a little reading before going to the gym. Several hours later I was still reading and blew off the gym. You can read about the plot yourself on the publishers synopsis so I'll not go into that detail; suffice it to say this is thrilling reading. I was delighted to read the author's blurb at the end in which he promised that the lead character would be back in the next book! Can't wait.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Greg Iles is awesome.......

    Believe me; anything Greg Iles puts out is fantastic! You will not be disappointed.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2014

    So far i have read the majority of Greg Iles's novels, and he ha

    So far i have read the majority of Greg Iles's novels, and he has not disappointed me! People say it is too graphic, i disagree, its just the right amount. it is true to the true evils of human kind and what they are capable of doing. and i read some reviews stating it as fantasy? is it fantasy that Nazis slaughtered people? is it fantasy that a woman can lift a car to save their entrapped child? Ah, well, each to their own. but this book was great, i was hooked into it and it was great. i do agree that the ending dragged on a bit, but other than that it was terrific!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    FARM LAND

    Farmers grow crops and build a house here

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