Every avid reader has a bunch of authors they keep on their shortlist – the ones whose hardcover they run out and buy the day it comes out or pre-order on Amazon. Greg Iles is one such author for me. His latest mystery/suspense thriller and his third book featuring prosecutor Penn Cage, The Devil's Punchbowl, is a top-notch effort.
Last seen in Iles superb novel Turning Angel (he also appeared in the equally excellent Quiet Game), Cage – the one-time prosecutor turned big-time novelist - is now the mayor of Natchez, Mississippi (won on a platform of econmic recovery). With his new title comes enough trouble to fill a novel (pun intended).
There’s everything you could ever expect in a gritty crime novel: rape, murder, prostitution, dirty politics, gambling, dog fighting, and a despicable villain with absolutely no remorse whatsoever, a bad guy through-and-through. As per usual, the work is well-crafted with solid, hard-hitting prose. The whole cast of characters is well-developed, and the narrative chugs along at a pretty good clip.
Honored by Audiophile Magazine as a Golden Voice and a three-time recipient of an Audio award along with multiple Eraphone awards, Dick Hill is a master craftsman. His narration of The Devil's Punchbowl absolutely astounds with his extreme skill for doing women’s voices and keeping them distinct from one another; he lends just enough Southern drawl to keep the Penn Cage character authentic to hardcore Greg Iles fans. As always, Brilliance Audio delivers a quality product with flawless audio. The only knock might be that this is a very long listening endeavour. Nonetheless, The Devil's Punchbowl is a great listen.