Chelsea Cain is one smart cookie. She entered the thriller scene in 2007 with Heartsick, the delicious little story of a beautiful and brilliant lady serial killer--Gretchen Lowell, known as the Beauty Killer--and Archie Sheridan, the cop who pursues and is seduced by her. Cain followed up with Sweetheart in 2008 and Evil at Heart the following year, and both novels featured the twisted pas de deux of Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan. She got better as a writer with each book, and, amazingly, managed to keep the relationship between her two antagonists fresh and inventive each time. But, though we readers might never get enough of Gretchen Lowell, Ms. Cain realized that it was time, at least for now, to put her on a back burner and give us something new.
The Night Season opens with a brief prologue, a flashback to an historic flood in Portland, Oregon in 1948, in which an entire town was washed away. Cut to present day Portland, which is in the midst of its first truly bad storm of the century and is battening down all the hatches for the flooding to come. So of course, with everybody working so hard and getting so wet, it seems inevitable that bodies will start washing up around town. It's not long before Archie Sheridan realizes that the bodies being found are not simply victims of drowning, but rather, the work of a particularly inventive serial killer, whose weapon of choice is--but that would be telling.
Throw in a couple of dramatic rescues of near-drownings by Archie (he does have a bit of a white knight complex); layer in richness of character with the increasingly important Susan Ward, girl reporter and potential love interest; tie in a missing kid; don't forget that historic flood at the beginning; then bring it all to a head with an incredibly tense climactic chase through downtown Portland at night when the river finally decides once and for all to overflow its banks: now you've got an entertainment that can't be beat.
Oh, and I'm not giving any plot points away by telling you that The Night Season ends as Gretchen Lowell's sanity hearing begins...mwahaha.