Book Six of 2013: SWEETHEART by Chelsea Cain

2983654With Heartsick, Chelsea Cain took the crime world by storm, introducing two of the most compelling characters in decades: serial killer Gretchen Lowell and her obsessed pursuer Portland Detective Archie Sheridan. The book spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnered rave reviews around the world. But the riveting story of Archie and Gretchen was left unfinished, and now Chelsea Cain picks up the tale again. When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland’s Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the last time they found a body there, more than a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. This body can’t be one of Gretchen’s—she’s in prison—but after help from reporter Susan Ward uncovers the dead woman’s identity, it turns into another big case. Trouble is, Archie can’t focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison. Archie hadn’t seen her in two months; he’d moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he’s relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all. Chelsea Cain has topped her own bestselling debut thriller with this unputdownable, unpredictable, edge-of-your-seat read.

One genre I love reading is the mystery/thriller genre, but like any genre, it is hard to get away from the cookie cutter template. Cain succeeds in going against the grain in a dark, and at times humorous, “love” story between a detective and his greatest rival; a serial killer.

HEARTSICK was an amazing debut. I fell in love with the twisted mind of Gretchen Lowell and the even more twisted relationship between criminal and detective. I couldn’t put down the first book and it was only a matter of time that I would embark in that same twisted world in SWEETHEART. And boy, was I equally disturbed in this book.

The critics say it all perfectly. Cain’s characters are deep, dark, and have secrets that would make a slightly off kilter person cringe. I love the Hannibal esque personality Gretchen has. There aren’t many female serial killers in real life and that is mirrored in literature. But Cain? She delves into the fairer side of humanity and changes it up.

SWEETHEART has a lighter tone than HEARTSICK, but it is still disturbing. The funny, or ironic, thing is, the disturbing parts are just the way Gretchen and Archie Sheridan (our hero and detective) interact. They are more of lovers who hate/love each other than enemies. It is a strange and disturbing dichotomy that just keeps me wanting more in the series. So far, Cain has five books out and really, I can’t wait to read the other three. I’m expecting them to be just as interesting and disturbing.

Oh, what a sick mind I have.

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