Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story wrapped up in something more banal, 5 Sep 2009
This review is from: Heartsick (Paperback)
This is almost like two books, one a fairly run-of-the-mill serial killer tale, and the other something far more enigmatic, both horrifying and yet fascinating. Others here have already outlined the plot so I won't repeat that. The present-day story of a middle-aged male serial killer preying on teenage girls has been done to death and I hate the inherent misogyny implicit in that kind of narrative. But the other story - and the reason I read this book - is something quite frighteningly different.

The relationship between Gretchen Lowell, the beautiful and terrifying psychopath, and Archie, the detective who trailed her and her final victim, is brilliantly drawn. Calling up theories of Stockholm syndrome and then pushing them to the max, this is an obsessive symbiotic relationship, dark and very disturbing. The relationships - both textual and psychological - between this book and the Silence of the Lambs are deliberately recalled when Gretchen calls a young journalist `Clarice', but the gender inversions (both authorial and in terms of character) turn this into something quite different, albeit with something of the same shadowy humour. The final encounter, in particular, between Archie and Gretchen really ramps up the emotional stakes and the issue of who is, ultimately, in control is left unresolved and open.

Make no mistake, this is a very violent book and the accusations of torture-porn are probably correct. And yet there's something so fascinating at the centre that I was drawn in completely. In many ways, Gretchen (and the book overall) exert the same ambiguous pull on the reader as the character Gretchen does on Archie: we know it's not good for us, we know we probably shouldn't carry on and yet we just can't help ourselves...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.0 out of 5 stars (67 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (32)
4 star:
 (22)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 58