Friday, October 9, 2009

Heart Sick by Chelsea Cain

Are you looking for a sick and twisted tale of a serial killings this Halloween? Chelsea Cain's Heart Sick might be just what you are looking for. This book is the first of the Archie and Gretchen thrillers series (followed by Sweetheart and Evil at Heart.)

Two years after a serial killer that terrified the Pacific Northwest turned herself in, another one is loose on the streets of Portland, Oregon. Archie Sheridan, the head of the task force that helped capture Gretchen Lowell (he was her final victim and the only one that survived,) has been lured off of his medical leave to head up a task force to capture "the After School Strangler." Tagging along after him is local reporter Susan Ward, who is doing a profile on Archie. Susan is surprised to learn that two of the suspects in the current murders are former high school teachers of hers.

Although Archie survived his ordeal with Gretchen he is an extremely scarred individual, both physically and emotionally. He cannot seem to escape the grip that Gretchen has over him, continuing to visit her in prison every Sunday, trips that led to the demise of his marriage. He also has a vigorous pill-popping habit in an effort to stay on top of the pain. He somehow manages to hang on to his tenuous grasp of reality and be an effective leader.

Both Archie and Susan are extremely vulnerable human beings - the details of Archie's torture at the hands of Gretchen are gruesome, and as the book progresses, the readers learn more about Susan's troubled adolescence. Gretchen, the imprisoned serial killer is terrifyingly cold and plays both Susan and Archie to satisfy her own sick needs. The puzzling relationship between Gretchen and Archie is intriguing to say the least - I'm diving right into the next book of the series, Sweetheart, to see what happens next!

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