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The Devil's Punchbowl (Penn Cage Series #3)

Average Rating 4
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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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Posted May 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    He's back... for better or worse

    In my review of his last clunker (Third Degree) I explained that the return (reading satisfaction) on my investment (time and attention) was getting abysmally low in my Greg Iles portfolio. In fact, I described him as very nearly off my reading list. And, ya know, I must have been pretty close to the mark in that assessment because a look at the listing of Greg Iles books on his web page at http://www.gregiles.com/books.htm doesn't even MENTION Third Degree.
    Now Iles has seduced me by bringing back Penn Cage for another go against true evil-- even "truer" evil than was found in Iles' yawner of the same title. As promised by the presence of The Shining Knight of Natchez, Penn Cage does have quite a yarn to spin. And he can't be blamed for having to spin it on this slow and sluggish spinning wheel.
    The Devil's Punchbowl is classic Greg Iles. You take some sure-fire attention-getters, Hurricane Katrina (thanks to Mother Nature) and dog fighting (thanks to Michael Vick), and you weave a plot populated with far too many over-the-top heroes and villains. Then you write and rewrite and overwrite until you have 500 pages that should have stopped at 400.
    This novel about corruption in the riverboat gambling industry is one of Iles' better conceptions in quite a while. But it has to stagger along under the burden of its bloated cast and the stultifying detail of every geographic reference and historical detail ever encountered between Vicksburg and Baton Rouge. I can't recall another book with two top villains so similar in every way that even the main character mistakes one for the other in a nighttime encounter. I'm not saying the book didn't need two villains (although that's worth discussing); I'm saying they shouldn't remind us of recently parted conjoined twins. And the book is so littered with mercenary assassins, vintage Texas Rangers, former Marine Corps snipers, retired cops, family relatives, federal bureaucrats, city officials, hookers, girlfriends, and rape victims that Tolstoy would have lost track.
    By the end of the book, all of the guys and girls that we're rooting for are tired, listless, and bedraggled. Guess what? So are the readers of this tail-chasing saga. It's got more blind alleys and dead-ends than the Sonora arroyos. And more flip-flops of conscience than a Bush-Kerry campaign.
    It has long been my contention that Greg Iles is a pretty good writer that could be made great by an adequate editor. The Devil's Punchbowl is another excellent example of that principle.

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  • Posted March 24, 2010

    First time reader!!

    I am a first time read of Greg Isles books, thought I would see the series and see how I would like it.

    The main charactor "the mayor" seemed weak at times but came back full force other times. I liked how he brought in all the recruits to help him against the corruption. It did seem that it dragged on most times taking about history, which I do love, but to much of it. I had to put it down, because got to the part of the dog fighting issues and I couldn't get by that, since I am a dog lover, very tough to read that part.

    But overrall the book was "okay"!!

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dog Fighting and the deep south....what a surprise!

    I like everything I have read by Mr. Iles, which is most everything he has written. This book could not have been timed more perfectly with the release of Michael Vick for his involvement in the barbaric sport of dog fighting. I would recommend this to all of Mr. Iles' fans!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2009

    I don't know what this means

    This was not my favorite Greg Iles book, altho I am a big fan of his.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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