The Devil's Punchbowl: A Novel

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The Devil's Punchbowl: A Novel

by Greg Iles

Scribner | July 7, 2009 | Hardcover |

4.6667 out of 5 rating. 3 Reviews
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From New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes his most electrifying thriller yet. The Devil''s Punchbowl reveals a world of depravity, sex, violence, and the corruption of a Southern town.

As a prosecuting attorney in Houston, Penn Cage sent hardened killers to death row. But it is as mayor of his hometown -- Natchez, Mississippi -- that Penn will face his most dangerous threat. Urged by old friends to try to restore this fading jewel of the Old South, Penn has ridden into office on a tide of support for change. But in its quest for new jobs and fresh money, Natchez, like other Mississippi towns, has turned to casino gambling, and now five fantastical steamboats float on the river beside the old slave market at Natchez like props from Gone With the Wind.

But one boat isn''t like the others.

Rumor has it that the Magnolia Queen has found a way to pull the big players from Las Vegas to its Mississippi backwater. And with them -- on sleek private jets that slip in and out of town like whispers in the night -- come pro football players, rap stars, and international gamblers, all sharing an unquenchable taste for one thing: blood sport -- and the dark vices that go with it. When a childhood friend of Penn''s who brings him evidence of these crimes is brutally murdered, the full weight of Penn''s failure to protect his city hits home. So begins his quest to find the men responsible. But it''s a hunt he begins alone, for the local authorities have been corrupted by the money and power of his hidden enemy. With his family''s lives at stake, Penn realizes his only allies in his one-man war are those bound to him by blood or honor:

  • Caitlin Masters, the lover Penn found in The Quiet Can Game and lost in Turning Angel
  • Danny McDavitt, the heroic helicopter pilot from Third Degree
  • Tom Cage, Penn''s father and legendary local family physician
  • Walt Garrity, a retired Texas Ranger who served with Penn''s father during the Korean War

Together they must defeat a sophisticated killer who has an almost preternatural ability to anticipate -- and counter -- their every move. Ultimately, victory will depend on a bold stroke that will leave one of Penn''s allies dead -- and Natchez changed forever.

After appearing in two of Iles''s most popular novels, Penn Cage makes his triumphant return as a brilliant, honorable, and courageous hero. Rich with Southern atmosphere and marked by one jaw-dropping plot turn after another, The Devil''s Punchbowl confirms that Greg Iles is America''s master of suspense.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 592 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 1.57 in

Published: July 7, 2009

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0743292510

ISBN - 13: 9780743292511

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– More About This Product –

The Devil's Punchbowl: A Novel

by Greg Iles

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 592 Pages, 5.91 × 8.66 × 1.57 in

Published: July 7, 2009

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0743292510

ISBN - 13: 9780743292511

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Midnight in the garden of the dead. A silver-white moon hangs high over the mirror-black river and the tired levee, shedding cold light on the Louisiana delta stretching off toward Texas. I stand among the luminous stones on the Mississippi side, shivering like the only living man for miles. At my feet lies a stark slab of granite, and under that stone lies the body of my wife. The monument at its head reads: SARAH ELIZABETH CAGE 1963-1998 Daughter. Wife. Mother. Teacher. She is loved. I haven''t sneaked into the cemetery at midnight to visit my wife''s grave. I''ve come at the urgent request of a friend. But I didn''t come here for the sake of friendship. I came out of guilt. And fear. The man I''m waiting for is forty-five years old, yet in my mind he will always be nine. That''s when our friendship peaked, during the Apollo 11 moon landing. But you don''t often make friends like those you make as a boy, so the debt is a long one. My guilt is the kind you feel when someone slips away and you don''t do enough to maintain the tie, all the more painful because over the years Tim Jessup managed to get himself into quite a bit of trouble, and after the first eight or nine times, I wasn''t there to get him out of it. My fear has nothing to do with Tim; he''s merely a messenger, one who may bear tidings I have no wish to hear. News that confirms the rumors being murmured over golf greens at the country club, bellowed between plays beside high school gridirons, and whispe
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From the Publisher

From New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles comes his most electrifying thriller yet. The Devil''s Punchbowl reveals a world of depravity, sex, violence, and the corruption of a Southern town.

As a prosecuting attorney in Houston, Penn Cage sent hardened killers to death row. But it is as mayor of his hometown -- Natchez, Mississippi -- that Penn will face his most dangerous threat. Urged by old friends to try to restore this fading jewel of the Old South, Penn has ridden into office on a tide of support for change. But in its quest for new jobs and fresh money, Natchez, like other Mississippi towns, has turned to casino gambling, and now five fantastical steamboats float on the river beside the old slave market at Natchez like props from Gone With the Wind.

But one boat isn''t like the others.

Rumor has it that the Magnolia Queen has found a way to pull the big players from Las Vegas to its Mississippi backwater. And with them -- on sleek private jets that slip in and out of town like whispers in the night -- come pro football players, rap stars, and international gamblers, all sharing an unquenchable taste for one thing: blood sport -- and the dark vices that go with it. When a childhood friend of Penn''s who brings him evidence of these crimes is brutally murdered, the full weight of Penn''s failure to protect his city hits home. So begins his quest to find the men responsible. But it''s a hunt he begins alone, for the local authorities have been corrupted by the money and power of his hidden enemy. With his family''s lives at stake, Penn realizes his only allies in his one-man war are those bound to him by blood or honor:

  • Caitlin Masters, the lover Penn found in The Quiet Can Game and lost in Turning Angel
  • Danny McDavitt, the heroic helicopter pilot from Third Degree
  • Tom Cage, Penn''s father and legendary local family physician
  • Walt Garrity, a retired Texas Ranger who served with Penn''s father during the Korean War

Together they must defeat a sophisticated killer who has an almost preternatural ability to anticipate -- and counter -- their every move. Ultimately, victory will depend on a bold stroke that will leave one of Penn''s allies dead -- and Natchez changed forever.

After appearing in two of Iles''s most popular novels, Penn Cage makes his triumphant return as a brilliant, honorable, and courageous hero. Rich with Southern atmosphere and marked by one jaw-dropping plot turn after another, The Devil''s Punchbowl confirms that Greg Iles is America''s master of suspense.

About the Author

Greg Iles was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father was in charge of the medical clinic at the U.S. Embassy, in 1961. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. Iles's first three novels, Spandau Phoenix, Black Cross, and Mortal Fear, have made the New York Times bestseller list. His second, Black Cross, was awarded the Mississippi Author's Award for Fiction in 1995.

Editorial Reviews

"A knockout thriller that''s just the right degree of chilly to combat the dog days of summer... Iles'' knack for perfectly integrating character and plot could serve as a master''s class for other authors."-- The Dallas Morning News
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