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Sweetheart [Paperback]

Chelsea Cain
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Feb 2009

‘I want you,’ Gretchen said. ‘I’ve always wanted you.’

Investigative journalist Susan Ward is about to print the story of her career – proving long-rumoured allegations about a respected senator’s affair with a young girl. But the day before her story is published, the senator is killed in a car crash.

Detective Archie Sheridan is trying to rebuild a life with his family. But he remains haunted by beautiful, ruthless serial killer Gretchen Lowell – the woman who tortured him then saved his life. Now that she is safely behind bars, Archie is determined to stay away from her. And when a mysterious child leads him to two bodies in Forest Park, Archie must focus his attention on the case.

But then the unthinkable happens: Gretchen escapes. The only thing this gorgeous psychopath cares about is Archie – and with her on the loose, everyone he loves has become a target . . .

Product details

  • Paperback: 411 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (6 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330449818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330449816
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Chelsea Cain’s debut Heartsick created quite a stir, with its heady mix of familiar serial killer motifs and some striking innovations (notably the fact that her utterly ruthless murderer was a woman: the beautiful Gretchen Lowell). Cain is very much a member of the cadre of female crime writers who match their male counterparts in extreme, unsparing violence: in other words (as her new book, Sweetheart comprehensively proves), this is a young American writer in the bloody tradition of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, Sweetheart is not so much a sequel to Heartsick as a direct continuation of the events of that novel. Some weeks after the events of the first book, Cain’s battered cop protagonist Archie is at the site of the new murder scene at Forest Park. Simultaneously, Susan Ward is reporting on a political case involving statutory rape and making herself very unpopular with her paper -- notably because the senator involved is an intimate of the newspaper’s owners. But then a colleague of Susan’s is killed in what appears to be a car accident, and the lethal Gretchen Lowell, the seductive serial killer of Heartsick, is raped by a guard at the prison where she is incarcerated. He subsequently kills himself, and while Gretchen is being transferred to another prison, she persuades an attendant to commit murder in order to help her escape. And Archie, to his dismay, soon becomes the recipient of the heart of the female prison guard killed in escape.

As all of the above suggests, the plotting here is even more delirious than in the first book -- and this synopsis only hints at the truly bizarre events that Chelsea Cain orchestrates. Even though a moment's consideration might make the narrative seem absurd (and there is some dodgy science incorporated into the plotting), the outrageous panache with which Cain dispatches her material sweeps all reservations aside. For those who care about such things, this is slightly less grisly than its predecessor, but it’s just as entertaining a ride. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


From Publishers Weekly"Starred Review," In Cain's superb follow-up to "Heartsick," damaged detective Archie Sheridan is back home in Portland, Ore., trying to resume a normal life. Archie's ties to serial killer Gretchen Lowell still run deep, even if he's stopped their weekly visits in prison. Meanwhile, reporter Susan Ward is finishing an article accusing a beloved U.S. senator of seducing his children's 14-year-old babysitter a decade earlier. When three bodies are discovered in a local park where Archie's team found Gretchen's first victim 12 years earlier Archie worries another serial killer is at large. After the senator's unexpected death, Susan discovers links between the sex scandal and the bodies in the park. When Gretchen escapes from prison, Archie knows he's the only one who can stop her from killing. In Cain's capable hands, Gretchen is both a monster and the only person who truly understands Archie's pain. With its brisk pacing, carefully metered violence and tortured hero, Cain's sophomore effort will leave readers desperate for more. "(Sept.)"Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Praise for "Heartsick" and Chelsea Cain "A dizzying novel. Lurid and suspenseful with well-drawn characters, plenty of grisly surprises and tart dialogue, it delivers."--"The New York Times Book Review" "Highly flawed but intelligent characters, a unique killer and a setting that complements a grizzly story line make this a novel mystery lovers can't afford to miss."--"USA Today" "In her dynamite first thriller, Cain introduces one of the most seductive and original psychopaths since HannibalLecter."--"Entertainment Weekly" ""Heartsick" is worth all the hype... brilliant."--"New York Post" "A vivid literary style lifts this well above the usual run of suspense novels.... Outstanding."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "With Gretchen Lowell, Chelsea Cain gives us the most compelling, most original serial killer since Hannibal Lecter."--Chuck Palahniuk ""Heartsick" has it all: a tortured cop, a fearless and quirky heroine, and what may be the creepiest serial killer ever created. This is an addictive read!"--Tess Gerritsen

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chelsea Cain - Sweetheart 26 July 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The first few chapters draw you in - the discovery of a body in the woods, the reporter, Susan Ward, about to tell all on Senator Castle and then his sudden accidental death and Detective Archie Sheridan re-building his life after the serial killer, Gretchen Lowell.
After that the plot falters with the story line focusing on the Gretchen-Archie relationship form the first book, Heart Sick. This relationship between killer-victim is disturbing but it is not deep enough to be an edge of the seat psychological thriller.
The main characters are not sufficiently developed, it's more of the same and the murders added in this novel are solved as an aside. There is a mysterious child who appears twice but this doesn't go any where.
I also found the style of writing simplistic to the point that it disturbs the flow both in dialogue and prose.
This is so disappointing after the first novel which was a promising debut.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second time around 24 July 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to book 2 featuring Archie Sheridan. I didn't expect one of the few female serial killers in modern thrillers to feature quite so heavily. That Gretchen Lovell is a nasty yet confusing character does add to the thrill of the chase. That this book is almost - but not quite - an add-on from Heartsick means that you don't really need to have read the first book before involving yourself in this. In fact, if you hadn't read number 1, this thriller would be a better read!!

I was disappointed, really, although I enjoyed the experience. Chelsea Cain is a good contemporary author with a penchant for gruesome killings in her books. Archie is a detective whose character can be developed but whether I want to read a third novel featuring these two at it yet again is a moot point. Let's have closure on Gretchen Lovell and a way forward for Archie to show us that he is more than just a scarred body - physically and mentally.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chelsea Cain - Sweetheart 19 July 2008
I eagerly anticipated Chelsea's next book, as her first was a 5 star for me. Disappointed is an understatement though.

Archie is still obsessed with Gretchen Lowell, and he finds himself investigating 3 murders, and 2 possible accidents. These murders become so trivial in the end, I have no idea why Chelsea even put them in. Most of the plot is pointless, and leads no-where. It's more or less book one, with a couple of murders added in.

If Chelsea had concentrated on expanding Archie's skills as a detective, and putting him on new murder cases, instead of dwelling on the previous book, Sweetheart could of been more of a compelling read.

Events that happen within the book, are some-what far fetched, and are certainly an 'eye-roller' but there are parts that are still good, and Susan and Bliss are still around to add to that.

I hope Chelsea's next book, if Archie is in it, will let Gretchen fade out more, and let Archie try and recover his life back.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking - for all the wrong reasons 21 Feb 2009
A lot of readers who buy/bought this book will have done so because its predecessor (and debut) novel was really outstanding, one of the best thrillers of 2007. The most memorable and most enjoyable aspect of that story was the relatively unusual relationship between a homicide cop and the object of his affections - not his patient, understanding wife, but a beautiful woman who was thought to have murdered more than 200 people in the area around Portland, Oregon one-by-one over a period of several years. But, with strong echoes of The Silence of the Lambs, the madwoman was already under lock and key in a maximum security prison for the entire length of that story. The relationship between serial killer Gretchen Lowell and Detective Archie Sheridan, told from the viewpoints of his abduction some years earlier and later when the roles were effectively reversed as he visited her in prison, was something to savour and will live in my memory for quite some time to come.

This sequel won't, sad to say. In summary, it's 'more of the same' and apart from a few minor revelations to explain the couple's strange history, there's very little new here and, frustratingly, even less to match the creepy, disturbing aura of the first novel. Gretchen Lowell escapes from prison. That's the big event, really. But whereas the corresponding event in SOTL - the escape of Hannibal Lecter - was the sensational highpoint and took up a large chunk of the story (as it should), in SWEET HEART Gretchen's escape isn't covered at all. Archie's partner Henry Sobol takes a phone call, puts the phone down, and tells Archie "she's escaped". And that's about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars once more with similar feeling 21 April 2009
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
This is not so much a sequel as a rewrite of the brilliant first novel by Chelsea Cain. I can imagine that Ms Cain was very reluctant to let Gretchen and Archie lie after finishing the writing of Heart Sick. Gretchen probably only comes to a novelist once in a blue moon, and definitely shares a changing room with Hannibal Lecter

the structure of this second book is so similar to the first one with added murders, political corruption, X-files like appearance of strange vanishing child and an out of control fire!! what more could you ask for?

If you are a fan you will love this and you definitely get your money's worth. It is fairly important that you read the first book before this one as this is virtually volume 2.

I will probably read the next volume too since once hooked by Gretchen she is difficult to shake off
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 26 days ago by JEAN SYLVIA DENNIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Read her books in sequence
If you follow the story from beginning to the now, you can easily get wrapt up in the intense (sick but intense) relationship Archie has with Gretchen, like ALL of her books... Read more
Published 9 months ago by jennifer wright
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Product arrived on time and in good condition. The only downside is its a bit boring, the description ,ads put it was brilliant but don't think it's for me
Published 11 months ago by samantha1987
5.0 out of 5 stars Good easy read
I found that once I started to read these books I could not put them down.In fact once I read the first of the trilogy I was hooked and bought the rest..
Published 17 months ago by S. Faulkes
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
I love the Gretchen Lowell books! Once I started this one I honestly couldn't put it down! A great read and storyline throughout. Definately recommending this to friends.
Published 21 months ago by Corasaurous
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I bought this along with the first of the Gretchen Lovell series, Heartsick. Having read the first of the Gretchen Lovell series, Heartsick is an even better read having got to... Read more
Published 22 months ago by saj
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. I was so engrossed in the characters and can't wait to read the second book.
Published on 21 April 2012 by Emma
3.0 out of 5 stars Started well but went downhill
I had high hopes for this book as I know Heartsick was well reviewed and the blurb likens it to the best killer since Hannibal Lecter. Read more
Published on 2 May 2011 by Book chatter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Second Book!
After really enjoying the first book I was very happy to find the next two in the series. I was not at all disapointed I enjoyed the relationship between Archie and Gretchen in the... Read more
Published on 7 Feb 2011 by CupCake
5.0 out of 5 stars Best in the series!
Best in the series. Keeps you guessing til the end. Impossible to put down.if you hav'nt read Heart sick, read that first. Buy this and Evil at Heart!
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by frankie3
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