Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series #6)
  • Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series #6)
  • Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series #6)

Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series #6)

4.1 36
by Chelsea Cain

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"[A] masterful blend of psychological suspense and straight-up gore, chronicling the twisted bond between police detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell."--Criminal Element

Detective Archie Sheridan just has to get through the next few days, then his birthday and Halloween will be over. But with escaped serial killer Gretchen Lowell on

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"[A] masterful blend of psychological suspense and straight-up gore, chronicling the twisted bond between police detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell."--Criminal Element

Detective Archie Sheridan just has to get through the next few days, then his birthday and Halloween will be over. But with escaped serial killer Gretchen Lowell on the loose, the investigation into the murder of a DEA agent demanding his attention, and journalist Susan Ward showing up at his apartment needing a favor, it's going to be a long weekend.

"Grabs you like a deadly undertow and doesn't let you go."--Parade magazine

Soon Archie finds himself crashing a masked ball on a private island owned by Jack Reynolds, a notorious local drug kingpin. By morning, Archie is back on painkillers, a guest is dead, and Archie quickly realizes that little is what it seems. One thing is clear: Gretchen is back, and Archie's nemesis and sometime lover has something special in mind for the birthday boy. Now, on Halloween Eve, with time running out and the life of someone close to Archie on the line, Archie knows his only chance is to give Gretchen exactly what she wants. But Gretchen will prove more horrifying, and unpredictable, than Archie ever could have imagined…in Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain.

"Gretchen Lowell isn't just the most fascinating villain…to appear in crime fiction in many, many years; she's also becoming a multifaceted character capable of engendering a much wider range of emotions than one would expect of somebody who enjoys carving up spleens."--Booklist (starred review)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Cain’s tense sixth thriller featuring serial killer Gretchen Lowell and Det. Archie Sheridan (after 2012’s Kill You Twice), the murder of DEA agent Carl Richmond leads Archie to investigate Portland, Ore., businessman Jack Reynolds’s drug empire. Jack’s son, Leo, is not only the boyfriend of freelance reporter Susan Ward but also the mole for the Feds inside his father’s operation. Carl was Leo’s handler. In an effort to determine whether Leo is alive or dead, Archie attends a lavish Halloween masquerade ball on Jack’s private island in a tony Portland suburb. Susan also attends, at Jack’s insistence. When a party guest turns up dead the next morning and Gretchen, who escaped from the state mental hospital months earlier, is seen in the vicinity, Archie has to choose his allies wisely if he’s to survive. Carefully peeling back Gretchen’s psychological layers with each new book, Cain continues to impress with her complex game of cat-and-mouse. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The sixth installment of this series (after Kill You Twice) picks up mere months after serial killer Gretchen Lowell has escaped from a mental institution. Det. Archie Sheridan is actively trying to form some semblance of a normal life; he’s involved with the woman who lives next door, spends time with his rescued corgi, and he’s officially off the Beauty Killer case. But any hopes that he’s free of her clutches are quickly dashed when disturbing, graphic evidence surfaces indicating that Gretchen is most certainly not done with Archie. Archie and his unwaveringly loyal friend Susan are immediately forced into the middle of Gretchen’s horrifying game.

Verdict Fans of Cain’s series will be sucked in once again. Gretchen is at her worst while somehow also being her most, dare this reviewer say it, loving. Archie is still infuriatingly attached and conflicted, while the romantic tension between him and Susan is palpable. Cain has an incredible talent for draping clues between books that makes the reader wonder if she’s been plotting every single move since the first sentence of the series. Her writing is goose bump–inducing, slyly witty, and bloody sexy. One of the most satisfying thriller series today. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/13; library marketing.]—Madeline Solien, Deerfield P.L., IL
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A sixth case for the spiciest salt-and-pepper duo in the genre: Portland homicide detective Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell, the homicidal psychologist who's unsurprisingly escaped from a psychiatric hospital. Say what you will about mobster Jack Reynolds: The man knows how to throw a pre-Halloween party. The food and drink are endless; the attendees include 500 masked guests; security has been outsourced to a cadre of military contractors. Not only is Archie reluctantly in attendance, but the host, unaware that his son Leo is secretly working undercover for the DEA, virtually kidnaps Leo's girlfriend, reporter Susan Ward, and has her driven to his private island for the party and coiffed and costumed by a helpful stripper when she arrives. The morning after the festivities, Archie wakes up in the mud with a blond hair in his mouth, and an uninvited guest, coed Lisa Watson, is found slashed to death. Both disruptions strongly suggest the presence of Gretchen among the masked revelers, even though Archie assures Susan that "it's been fourteen months since she killed recreationally." And Gretchen remains offstage for most of this installment--allowing Archie free rein to celebrate his birthday in handcuffs as his downstairs neighbor Rachel entertains him with a lap dance--until Archie's lover/nemesis/torturer turns up at the eleventh hour to end some lives, save others and complain, "Do I have to do everything myself?" The murder and its solution take a back seat to the continuing saga of Archie's affair with the sociopath for whom his heart burns, all but literally. Considerably less intense than Kill You Twice (2012) and its predecessors. Perverse and kinky things still happen, but there's quite a bit of downtime in between.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series, #6
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 6.83(h) x 1.02(d)

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Archie Sheridan had a paper birthday hat on his head and six bullets in his front pocket. The bullets rattled when he moved, making a clinking sound that no one else seemed able to hear. The hat’s tight elastic band dug at his neck. He pulled at it, feeling the imprint of a ligature mark forming.

“How was the bridge traffic?” Doug asked. Archie guessed that Debbie had sent him over. Go make small talk with the awkward guest. That’s what he was now, a guest. It still took some getting used to.

“Fine,” Archie said. He rolled the bullets between his fingers. It was a lie; the bridge had been backed up for miles.

Archie saw Doug’s face light up and then turned to see Debbie coming toward them from the kitchen. She was wearing a white chef’s apron and licking frosting off her thumb. Her hair was dark and very short and her body was strong and lean, though Archie supposed he wasn’t supposed to notice that anymore. Doug reached to put his arm around her waist as she stepped next to them, but she gave him a quick look and he pretended to do something else with his arm. No public displays of affection in front of the guest. He might feel bad.

“Archie says the bridge was clear,” Doug said. He was tall and long-limbed, with light brown hair and a wispy beard that made him look like a graduate student. He looked ten years younger than Archie even though they were the same age.

Debbie gave Archie a knowing smile. “Really?” she said. “At this time of day? That would be a first.”

Archie shrugged. He’d grown a beard once, but it had just made him look like a rabbi.

He could hear the kids in the kitchen, but he couldn’t see them. They had stationed him in front of a window in the far corner of the living room, while they frosted the cake. The apartment still smelled like the lasagna Debbie had made for dinner. There were dirty dishes on the table.

The window looked south, over downtown Vancouver. Archie could see the red taillights of airplanes lining up to land at the Portland airport, a barge making its way east down the river, the lights of the new Vancouver library, Fort Vancouver, a movie theater, a digital bank tower clock. Oregon was just on the other side of the Columbia River, a distant, indistinct horizon. Archie lived in Portland. He knew its topography, its skyline, its bridges and landmarks. But the view from Debbie’s window was an unfamiliar landscape.

“It’s not as far as people think,” Debbie said. “If you can avoid rush hour.”

“I know,” Archie said. But the truth was, he wondered sometimes if she had moved far enough. He missed his family, but he knew that the farther away from him they were, the safer he could keep them.

Debbie’s condo was on the tenth floor of a secure building. The kids didn’t have a yard anymore, but no one got in or out of the building without being buzzed in. The elevators required a keycard to operate. Security cameras monitored the hallways. Two security guards were on duty in the building around the clock.

The kids could live without a yard.

“Sara wants to be Gretchen Lowell for Halloween,” Debbie said.

Archie inhaled quickly and coughed.

Debbie patted him on the back. “I already said no,” she said with a glance toward Doug, who was staring at his shoes. “I just wanted to give you a heads-up. In case she brings it up.”

Archie’s fingers tightened around the slick brass cartridges in his pocket. “She’s seven years old,” he said.

“She wants to be something scary,” Debbie said. “It has nothing to do with you. Most of her friends don’t even know.”

It had been over a year since Archie and Debbie had split for good and she had enrolled the kids in school in Washington under her last name. It made sense for security reasons. It also required fewer explanations. Archie had been a public figure during the years he ran the Beauty Killer Task Force, but after Gretchen Lowell had kidnapped him and tortured him for ten days, he had reached a new infamy. Since her escape ten weeks before, the media had been revisiting every horrific detail.

Doug’s eyes darted around for something to say. “I hear you got a dog.”

“Sort of,” Archie said, not wanting to explain.

“The kids are excited,” Doug said.

Archie didn’t need Doug to tell him anything about his kids, but he decided that now maybe wasn’t the time to broach that particular topic.

“We’re ready,” Ben hollered from the kitchen.

Debbie pressed some matches into Doug’s hand. “Can you help the kids with the candles?” she asked him.

He smiled, happy to have been given something to do, and pattered off to the kitchen.

“He’s nice,” Archie said. He was making an effort to be pleasant, but he also meant it. Doug was dependable, good with the kids, kind to Debbie. Doug engineered wind turbines, a profession with limited exposure to serial killers. Archie liked him. When he could force himself to forget that Doug was having sex with his ex-wife and spending quality time with his children.

“Are you seeing anybody?” Debbie asked gently.

Archie’s fingers tightened around the bullets, and for a moment he thought that Henry might have told her about Rachel. But when he looked at Debbie’s face, he saw only tentative concern. The question wasn’t loaded.

“Not really,” Archie said.

She frowned skeptically. “What does that mean?” she asked.

Archie opened his hand and let the bullets drop back to the deep corner of his pocket. “It means I’m seeing someone,” he said. “But I don’t want to talk about it yet.”

Debbie’s face brightened with pleasure. “Is it Susan?” she asked.

“No,” Archie said. “Seriously?”

Debbie narrowed her eyes. “Does Henry like her?”

Archie hesitated.

“Tell me she’s not blond,” Debbie said.

Before Archie could come up with an answer, singing filled the living room and Archie’s children appeared, faces bathed in the glow of lit birthday candles. Doug stood behind them, guiding them forward, protective hands on their shoulders. Sara held one side of the cake plate and Ben had the other. They were dark-haired and freckled, baby teeth giving way to changed smiles. Every time Archie saw them, they looked more like their mother.

They finished singing, and Archie blew out the candles.

As he stepped back from the cake, he felt his phone vibrate.

“Make a wish, Daddy,” Sara said.

He didn’t make wishes anymore. But he pretended. He closed his eyes. When he opened them, Sara was beaming at him. “What did you wish for?” she asked.

“I can’t tell you,” Archie said. He pulled a candle from the cake, and handed it to her to lick the frosting off.

The phone was still vibrating in his pocket.

Archie glanced at the caller ID. It was Henry.

He turned away from the cake, and answered the phone. “Yeah,” he said.

“I’m at the Gold Dust Meridian,” Henry said. “Homicide. You’ll want to see this.”

Archie turned back toward the cake. Sara and Ben were plucking candles off and sucking them clean. Debbie had threaded her hand into Doug’s.

Forty-two candles. Six bullets. Two kids, every other weekend.

“Okay,” Archie said.

He slid the phone back in his pocket and looked over at Debbie. He didn’t have to explain. She knew the drill.

“Do you have to leave?” she asked.

Archie nodded.

“One slice of birthday cake to go,” Debbie said. “Coming up.”


Copyright © 2013 by Verite Inc.

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