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on 30 August 2015
This is one of those few times where I've come away from a book feeling a bit, well, unsure. I can't say I really loved the book but equally I can't say I hated it too. For me it was more of a compelling book. What I mean is that it was like witnessing a terrible event, e.g. a car crash, you know you shouldn't be looking but you can't help yourself. Two stories running parallel to each other. On the one hand you have a female serial killer who is now incarcerated still having a relationship of sorts with her Stockholm Syndrome victim, Archie Sheridan, the main protagonist here. On the other, another killer targeting school girls. A case Archie is trying to solve. Two story lines but neither one really fleshed out properly. The school girl plot line almost ran as a sub plot which I didn't really find that 'I'm dying to see who done it element,' disappointingly. I wasn't really that bothered, partly because tension was really lacking, it felt a bit lacklustre. There were a couple of other sub plots that really seemed superfluous, the senator one being one of them, though I've now realised this is picked up in the next book. Hhmmm, not holding my breath with excitement, but I could be wrong!!

The Gretchen Lowell, Archie Sheridan relationship was more interesting. Yes, she's a dark, psychotic, clever, dangerous woman and the build up to how psychotic was good BUT it still felt really lacklustre. I just wasn't that excited. Relieved she wasn't another Hannibal Lecter, been done and all that, but this was just ....... *sigh*

I suspect the relationship and back story is going to continue with these two central characters but at the moment I'm not chomping at the bit to see where it's all going. Maybe in time, but for me the excitement just isn't there, yet.

A disappointing read.
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on 16 June 2017
This was a long-time-later reread for me and since i'd forgotten most of the pertinent points, still managed to surprise. The main plot leaves something to be desired, there's nothing particularly special about it, but the relationship between Archie and his murderer/saviour Gretchen Lowell is both novel and intriguing. That blend of fear and desire, that closeness, was well written enough to make the reader feel genuinely uncomfortable, a real counterbalance to a rape/murder plot that ticks all the cliche boxes.

It's probably more like a 3.5 but I rounded up because even 10 years after it's publication, I still haven't read anything like Cain's disturbing killer/cop match up.
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on 14 July 2013
It's as if you need to be gorier and more and more bizarre in your murders these days to write a good crime novel. The storyline in this is almost as ridiculous as the TV programme The Following (a barometer for badness if you like). I discovered this writer through her forwards in Ira Levin's novels. The two writers are poles apart and then some.
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on 29 April 2017
Ch elsea Cain is one of the best authors for gripping and gory
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on 9 April 2017
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on 3 March 2017
love it
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2009
I really really enjoyed this. It was a really interesting concept to this genre of books. The relationship between Archie the detective and Gretchen the serial killer, was a very weird one. It was a bit disturbing the relationship he had with her and couldnt believe he chose her over his entire family etc...was very weird, but at the end he seemed to have made a little progress, and am hoping by the next book he starts sorting himself out a bit and gets over the weird obsession.

I loved the character Susan, she was very likable and I found she was a character that women could probably relate to quite easily. Also imagining the bright pink hair made me smile lol I was very surprised by that twist at the end to how the killer was choosing his victims etc and a little surprised that she hasnt picked up on it before.

All of the other back up characters were interesting too....although his ex-wife I hope will find another man as she definately derserved better than how Archie had treated her etc. Having your husband pick the person who tortured and nearly killed him over you would seriously peeve me off and I certainly wouldnt have stuck around.

I look forward to reading the next book and if you love crime books and havent read this then I recommend giving it a go.

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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2008
Damaged detective, Archie Sheridan is asked to come back to work following an extended period of sick leave. Sheridan had been kidnapped and tortured by the `Beauty Killer', Gretchen Lowell, and as a result he is heavily dependent on various drugs to get through the day. But now there is a new murderer on the loose, who kidnaps rapes and murders teenage girls before dumping them, and Archie is asked to head up the team of investigators.

One of the conditions Sheridan places on his return to work is that he will be followed by a young reporter, Susan Ward, who will write a feature about him. The reasons that Sheridan wants Ward to follow him are not immediately clear, especially as it is likely that she will uncover his drug addiction and his ongoing meetings with Gretchen Lowell and the bizarre hold she continues to have over him. Fortunately this is resolved by the end.

I really enjoyed this novel; it is fast paced and the majority of the characterisation is good. Susan bounces of the page, the only minor criticism that I have is that I never managed to get a proper idea of how old Sheridan was or what he looked like. This made the dynamic between the two main characters harder for me to work out. Was there any sexual tension there? I'm not sure.

Gretchen Lowell might be the female Hannibal Lector, but I think you have to applaud Cain for trying to do something a bit different. Gretchen is attractive and psychotic; I liked the fact that she escaped from the stereotypical portrayal as psychopaths having a face like a `bag of spanners.' A word of warning to those of a sensitive nature....she does things that really aren't very nice at all!

On the whole a good effort and an easy read. This is her first novel and I think that other reviewers might be being a little harsh!
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on 15 February 2015
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on 8 June 2017
For ten years, the Beauty Killer haunted both America and Detective Archie Sheridan, racking up a body count that no one could ever believe. In a turn of unseen events, the Beauty Killer turned out not only to be a woman but a beautiful one that Sheridan had become close to as she had infiltrated the case and he was to became her last victim. What no one was expecting was for her to torture and abuse Sheridan for ten days before releasing him and handing herself in. The question on everyone’s lips was why? Heartsick is set two years after these events where Archie Sheridan is back leading a task force as another serial killer stalks the streets of Portland. Archie finds himself shadowed by young journalist, Susan Ward, who is doing a piece on the Detective that faced the Beauty Killer and lived to tell the tale but also finds himself dealing with his demons as he realises that only one person can help him understand the killer stalking his city...

Crime books are one of the biggest selling genres in the world and just when you think they’re about to become cliché, Chelsea Cain creates the Gretchen Lowell series that is introduced here in Heartsick. Never during my years of reading crime books have I ever felt myself being charmed by the serial killer and yet that’s exactly what Cain achieves with Gretchen. Stockholm Syndrome is a mysterious and intriguing phenomenon for most people and I believe that Cain creates it perfectly by illustrating the surreal relationship between Detective Sheridan and Gretchen as well as how he struggles to form bonds with the people already in his life and new relationships he makes.

Cain has created a page-turner in Heartsick with an original plot, characters that are perfectly flawed making them three dimensional, and it’s the introduction to a series that I know will have you hooked with every installment. Heartsick is a captivating novel that I have found myself reading over and over again, enjoying it just as much as if it was the first time.
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