Chelsea Cains 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 theres 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, Cains 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 newspapers owners. But then a colleague of Susans 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 its 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