Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series #2)

Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series #2)

by Chelsea Cain


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312662394
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 07/20/2010
Series: Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series , #2
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 158,209
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Chelsea Cain is the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Season, Evil at Heart, and Heartsick. Both Heartsick and Sweetheart were listed in Stephen King's Top Ten Books of the Year in Entertainment Weekly. Chelsea lived the first few years of her life on an Iowa commune, then grew up in Bellingham, WA, where the infamous Green River killer was "the boogieman" of her youth. The true story of the Green River killer's capture was the inspiration for the story of Gretchen and Archie. Cain lives in Portland with her husband and daughter.

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Chapter One

Forest Park was pretty in the summer. Portland’s ash sky was barely visible behind a canopy of aspens, hemlock, cedars, and maples that filtered the light to a shimmering pale green. A light breeze tickled the leaves. Morning glories and ivy crept up the mossy tree trunks and strangled the blackberry bushes and ferns, a mass of crawling vines that piled up waist-high on either side of the packed dirt path. The creek hummed and churned, birds chirped. It was all very lovely, very Walden, except for the corpse.

The woman had been dead awhile. Her skull was exposed; her scalp had been pulled back, a tangle of red hair separated from the hairline by several inches. Animals had eaten her face, exposing her eyes and brain to the forces of putrefaction. Her nose was gone, revealing the triangular bony notch beneath it; her eye sockets were concave bowls of greasy, soaplike fat. The flesh of her neck and ears was blistered and curdled, peeled back in strips to frame that horrible skull face, mouth open like a Halloween skeleton.

"Are you there?"

Archie turned his attention back to the cell phone he held against his ear. "Yeah."

"Want me to wait on dinner?"

He glanced down at the dead woman, his mind already working the case. Could be an OD. Could be murder. Could be she fell from the wheel well of a 747. Archie had seen that last one on an episode of Law & Order. "I’m thinking no," he said into the phone.

He could hear the familiar concern in Debbie’s voice. He’d been doing well. He’d cut back on the pain pills, gained a little weight. But he and Debbie both knew it was all too tenuous. Mostly, he pretended. He pretended to live, to breathe, to work; he pretended he was going to be okay. It seemed to help the people he loved. And that was something. He could do that, at least, for them. "Be sure you eat something," she said with a sigh.

"I’ll grab something with Henry." Archie flipped the phone shut and dropped it into his coat pocket. His fingers touched the brass pillbox that was also in his pocket, and lingered there for a moment. It had been more than two and a half years since his ordeal. He’d only been off medical leave a few months. Long enough to catch his second serial killer. He was thinking of getting some business cards made up: SERIAL KILLER APPREHENSION SPECIALIST. Maybe something embossed. His head hurt and he reflexively moved to open the lid of the pillbox, then let his fingers drop and lifted his hand from his pocket and ran it through his hair. No. Not now.

He squatted next to Lorenzo Robbins, who sat on his heels inches from the body, his dreadlocks hidden under the hood of his white Tyvek suit. The smooth stones of the creek bed were slick with moss.

"That your wife?" Robbins asked.

Archie pulled a small notebook and a pen out of his other pocket. A flashbulb went off as a crime photographer took a picture behind them. "My ex-wife."

"You guys still close?"

Archie drew an outline of the woman in his notebook. Marked where the surrounding trees were, the creek below. "We live together."


The flashbulb went off again. "It’s a long story," Archie said, rubbing his eyes with one hand.

Robbins used a pair of forceps to lift the woman’s loose scalp, so he could peer under it. When he did, dozens of black ants scurried out over her skull and into the decomposing tissue inside her nasal aperture. "Dogs have been here."

"Wild?" Archie asked, twisting around to look up at the thick surrounding forest. Forest Park was five thousand acres, the largest urban wilderness park in the country. Parts of it were remote; parts of it were crowded. The area where the body had been found was in the lower part of the park, which was frequented by a steady stream of joggers, hikers, and mountain bikers. Several houses were even visible up the hillside.

"Domestic probably," Robbins said. He turned and jabbed a latex-gloved thumb up the hillside. "Way the body’s down here behind the scrub, can’t see it from the path. People come running through with their dogs off leash. Sparky scrambles down here, tears a hunk of cheek off the corpse." He looked down at the corpse and shrugged. "They think he’s found a dead bird or whatever. Owner lets him sniff around a little. Then they run on."

"You’re saying she was eaten by pugs?"

"Over time. A few weeks."

Archie shook his head. "Nice."

Robbins raised an eyebrow as he glanced back up at the path. "Funny no one smelled anything."

"There was a sewer leak," Archie said. "One of the houses at the top of the hill."

The eyebrow shot up another few millimeters. "For two weeks?" Archie drew the hiking path across the page of his notebook. It was maybe forty feet above, at its closest point. Then it curved and headed farther up the hillside, deeper into the woods. "People rationalize."

"You thinking she was a prostitute?"

"Based on the shoes?" She was still wearing one—an amber Lucite pump. The other they had found nestled in moss underneath a fern a few yards away. "Maybe. Maybe she was a stylish thirteen year-old. Hard to tell." Archie looked at the grinning mouth, the teeth straight and white against all the surrounding blood and gristle. "She’s got nice teeth."

"Yeah," Robbins agreed softly. "She’s got nice teeth."

Archie watched as his partner, Henry Sobol, came slowly, tentatively, down the hillside. He was wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt, and a black leather jacket, despite the heat. Henry kept his eyes down, lips pursed in concentration, arms outstretched for balance. With his arms extended and his shaved head, he looked like a circus strongman. He walked sideways, trying to step in Archie’s footprints, but his feet were bigger than Archie’s and each step sent a spit of dirt and small rocks rattling down the embankment. Above them, on the hillside, Archie could see that everyone had stopped to watch, their faces anxious. A homeless man looking for a place to set up camp had found the body and called the police from a convenience store a few blocks outside the park. He had met the first officer to respond and taken him to the site, where the officer had promptly lost his footing in the loose dirt and slid down the hillside into the creek, polluting the crime scene and nearly breaking his leg. They would have to wait for the autopsy results to even know if they had a homicide.

Henry reached the bottom, winked at Archie, and then turned and waved merrily up above. The cops at the top of the hill all turned back to their work taping the crime scene off, and keeping the growing group of sportily dressed hikers and joggers at bay.

Henry smoothed his salt-and-pepper mustache thoughtfully with a thumb and forefinger and rocked forward to examine the body, allowing himself a reflexive grimace. Then business. "What killed her?" he asked.

Robbins placed a bag over one of her bloated, mottled hands and secured it with a twist-tie. He did it gingerly, as if she had nodded off and he didn’t want to wake her. The fingers curled, blistered and swollen, and the nail beds were black, but the hand was still recognizable, though probably not printable. The other, which lay half buried in the earth and moss, was crawling with beetles. "Search me," Robbins said.

"She die here?" Henry asked.

"Hard to say until we know what killed her," Robbins answered. He gazed up at Henry. "Do you wax your head or is it naturally that shiny?"

Archie smiled. Henry had called Robbins out at the police softball game that spring. It had been like this ever since.

"I was just asking," Henry said to Robbins.

"Ask me after the autopsy," Robbins muttered. He produced another bag and gave it a snap in the air, and then gently lifted her other hand so he could slide it into the bag. The beetles scattered, and Henry took a small step back.

Archie wrote something in his notebook. It had been thirteen years since they had stood over another dead girl in that park. That had set them on the trail of the Beauty Killer. They didn’t know back then it would become a career. Or that Archie would become one of her victims.

A voice from up the hillside hollered, "Hey."

Henry looked up at the path, where Claire Masland was waving for them to come back up the hill. He put his hands on his hips. "You’ve got to be kidding me," he said to Archie.

Claire motioned again. This time she put her whole arm into it.

"I’ll go first," Archie said. He glanced back at Henry and added, "So when you fall you won’t take us both down."

"Ha, ha," said Henry.

"What do you have?" Archie asked Claire when they reached the path. Claire was small and angular with a very short haircut. She was wearing a striped T-shirt and jeans. Her gold shield was clipped to her waistband, along with a phone, a gun in a leather holster, and a pair of red plastic sunglasses jauntily hooked through a belt loop. She tilted her head at a young uniformed cop who was covered in dirt.

"This is Officer Bennett," she said. "The first responder."

Bennett looked like a kid, tall with a baby face and a slight double chin that pressed fretfully against a skinny neck. He hunched his shoulders miserably. "I’m so sorry," he said.

"Show them," Claire told Bennett. He sighed glumly and turned around. He had taken a header down the ravine and his uniform was stained with muck, and tiny bits of vegetation still clung to his shirt.

Both Henry and Archie leaned forward to get a better look. Clinging to Bennett’s shoulder blade, among the fern seeds, the moss particulate, and the dirt, was, unmistakably, a clue.

Henry looked at Archie. "That would be a human hair," he said.

"When you, uh, fell," Archie asked Bennett. "Did you actually make contact with the body?"

Bennett’s spine stiffened. "Jesus no, sir. I swear."

"Must have picked it up on the way down," said Henry.

Archie pulled a slim black flashlight out of his pocket and shone it along the length of the red hair. He held it for Henry to look. There was a tiny clump of tissue at the base of the hair. "It’s got a scalp fragment on it," Archie said.

Bennett whipped his head around, eyes wide. "Get it off me," he pleaded. "Get it off me, okay?"

"Easy, son," Henry said.

Claire, who was a good foot shorter than Bennett, reached up and plucked the hair off and dropped it in an evidence bag.

Archie called a crime scene tech over. "Bag all his clothes. Socks, everything."

"But what will I wear?" Bennett asked as the crime scene tech led him off.

Claire turned to Archie and Henry. The path they were on was about three feet wide, carved worryingly out of the hillside. The back foot of it had been taped off to let the fifty-year-old women by, so they didn’t have to backtrack a mile into the woods and miss afternoon spa appointments. A chocolate Lab bounded through the foliage on the hillside as its owner, in cargo shorts, hiking books, and reflective sunglasses, walked past without even a second glance at the activity at the bottom of the glen. "So?" Claire said.

"Head injury," said Archie.

"Yep," said Henry.

"Maybe she fell," Claire theorized. "Like T. J. Hooker, there. Hit her head on a rock."

"Or maybe the rock hit her," Henry said.

"Or," Archie said, "maybe Sparky scrambled down there and stuck his snout in our corpse, and the hair dropped off his tongue on his way back up the embankment."

Claire and Henry both looked at Archie.

"Sparky?" Henry said.

"That is so gross," said Claire.

Excerpted from Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

Copyright © 2008 by Verite

Published in 2008 by St. Martin’s Minotaur

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher

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Sweetheart (Gretchen Lowell Series #2) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 236 reviews.
Marquess More than 1 year ago
A very interesting sequel that would make perfect sense even for those who have not read the first book. Chelsea Cain is a wonderful author with a unique and mesmerizing story to tell. The ending will have you jumping to get the third in the series. I could not put this down, I read it in under two days. This is definately a great read for thrill seekers, and it is very interesting from many different perspectives. I highly recommend this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say Chelsea Cain can write a story that brings you back for more, but reading this latest book left me feeling disturbed. I felt like the character of Archie just forgot everything important in his life it was like he no longer loved anyone. When Gretchen goes to the school where his children are at he wasn't willing to kill her to protect them even though he remembers a case where Gretchen killed a little boy and skinned him, he seemed not worried enough to protect them. Also finding out more of his relationship with Gretchen I couldn't help feeling that his wife was getting the short end of everything, maybe if the story didn't let us know so much about her and the fact that they didn't seem to have an unhappy marriage. Even though I felt this book left you with an ungood feeling I probably will still read her follow up just to see what happens.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When I finished reading HEARTSICK, the first novel of this series, I touted it as the best thriller ever. I still stand by that sentiment. And even though SWEETHEART doesn't quite live up to the greatness of that first book, it's still a really good read.

All of the characters from the first book are back, and they find themselves in circumstances that are, in a lot of ways, similar to those in the first book.

Archie is still obsessed with Gretchen. Gretchen is still obsessed with killing -- and with Archie.

Archie's family, friends, and co-workers are trying to help him end his addiction to both painkillers and Gretchen, but it doesn't seem to be working. He's living with his ex-wife and children, and he loves them and wants to keep them safe, and yet he still wants -- no, needs -- to be with Gretchen in some way.

The plot is added to (and sometimes complicated by) the story that Susan Ward began working on in HEARTSICK -- that of the affair between the beloved Senator and the underage babysitter. This story becomes intertwined with the present when Susan's friend/mentor is killed, and the case falls into Archie's lap.

SWEETHEART is a fairly quick read, and I stayed up late to finish it. I really did like it, even though I wasn't as impressed with it as I was HEARTSICK.

There's no doubt that Archie and Gretchen will be back. I'm anxious to see more of them, and to find out who will be the death of who.
TaraLomax More than 1 year ago
I absoulutely just love this series!! Its a must read suspense!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There have been many, many books...esp. mysteries...that involve police officers who have annoying 'issues', and one wonders how such characters would ever pass psych evals. I've never read anything else by Chelsea Cain (and will probably avoid any other offerings by this author), and only read this book through 'til the end in the hope that the stupid, sex-driven detective and the serial killer would both die horrible deaths!
nomadreader on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I enjoyed Heart Sick so much, I wanted to read Sweetheart next. As a duo, the novels work well together. They feel less like a series and more like two parts of the same novel. I confess, I did not enjoy the mystery and storyline of Sweetheart as much, but I did enjoy the characters more. Cain has created mesmerizing portraits of human imperfection. The third book in the series, Evil at Heart, is set to be published in September. I will be eager to read it, and I trust it will be a good story. My one hope is that Chelsea Cain recognizes the limits of these characters; at a certain point, the continuation of this story may become preposterous. Until then, I'll be tuning in.
mazda502001 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This series is just so good. This is another serial killer thriller but oh, what a serial killer. The characters in this series are just so engrossing. Gretchen has to be a female Hannibal Lecter.Back Cover Blurb:Investigative journalist Susan Ward is about to print the story of her career - but the day before her story is published, the senator she is about to expose is killed in a car crash.Detective Archie Sheridan is trying to rebuild a life with his family. And when a mysterious child leads him to two bodies in Forest Park, Archie must focus his attention on the case. But he remains haunted by thoughts of the beautiful, ruthless serial killer Gretchen Lowell, now safely locked up in prison.But then the unthinkable happens: Gretchen escapes. The only thing this gorgeous psychopath cares about is Archie - and with her on the loose, everyone he loves has become a target.....
Kassilem on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The first book was better, thrill-wise. There was also less gruesome and more graphic sex. More swearing too but that didn't bother me as much as it might have bothered someone else. What made this book less appealing than the first one for me was that in the first book it was a torture fest and now it's a love story. Why does Archie fantasize about his torturer? It doesn't make sense to me. Maybe there's some psychological effects to having someone have that much power over you? I don't know, it seems odd. It¿s still a story that made me want to turn the pages.
julyso on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Gretchen Lowell, a serial killer we first met in Heartsick, has escaped from prison. Archie Sheridan is her only living victim and the detective who put her in prison. Archie is a drug addict who is still having psychological problems from his first encounter with Gretchen. The story starts off with a scandal about a senator having an affair with a fourteen-year-old girl. The senator ends up dead and a body is found in the same area where Gretchen left her first victim. Archie is there to investigate and starts having flashbacks to his time with Gretchen...There is really nothing in this story that I found believeable. Archie is a louse-he is addicted to painkillers and obssessed with a serial killer who tried to murder him! Archie's wife, Debbie, is also not believable. What woman would stay with this man after all that he put her through? Gretchen, the evil serial-killer, has power over all men and can make them do anything-whatever! I didn't buy it. The ending was also a disappointment.
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This thriller is the sequel to Heartsick, which I read in 2008. It definitely needs to be read as a sequel, and not as a standalone, as much of the story is dependent on events that happened in the first book. Detective Archie Sheridan, serial killer Gretchen Lowell, and reporter Susan Ward all return, along with their supporting cast. This was a quick, intense read, not quite as good as Heartsick, but still suspenseful. The dark and twisted relationship between Archie and Gretchen was explored further. Recommended for fans of the first book.
bkladyatl on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A great followup to the first book. Although I have been tired of the serial killer books of late, this one was exciting and kept up the suspense. The characters are well drawn and although Archie's relationship with Gretchen is cringeworthy, I still found myself liking Archie.
TerryWeyna on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This week I rebelliously decided I was tired not only of legal work, but also of reading books that I am obliged to read in order to review them. Sometimes even books I very much want to read become less pleasurable because I¿ve committed to reviewing them. I guess the mind just rebels against any ¿must¿ in one¿s life. All I wanted was to read something fun of my own choosing.Chelsea Cain¿s Sweetheart has been sitting on my shelf since I picked up a signed first edition at the wonderful M Is For Mystery bookstore about a year ago. After reading Heartsick, Cain¿s first novel about serial killer Gretchen Lowell and Portland, Oregon, detective Archie Sheridan, I was convinced I¿d get a good thrill ride out of the next novel in the series, and I was right.Sweetheart opens with Gretchen still in prison; Archie has stopped his weekly visits to her to get more information about the 200 or so people she murdered. (She was convicted of killing 25 or so, and part of her plea agreement was that she would reveal more of the names of victims on open cases, but only to Archie.) Archie is living with his ex-wife and two children, though the husband/wife relationship isn¿t exactly complete; Archie sleeps in his study. Archie remains terribly haunted by Gretchen, and longs to see her, even knowing what she is, even despite her torture of him to the point of death. When word comes that Gretchen has been beaten and raped in prison, and will identify her attacker only to Archie, he flies to her side.Archie¿s partner, Henry, watches as the two are reunited, and makes up his mind that enough is enough: he arranges to have Gretchen transferred to the eastern side of the state, far out of Archie¿s easy reach. But Gretchen has played him; she escapes. And with that, the novel is off and running.Watching Archie and Gretchen move together in a game of cat and mouse is only one of the pleasures in this book. We also watch Susan Ward, a newspaper reporter, maneuver for the crime beat when her mentor dies, mostly by attempting to discover whether her mentor¿s death was the result of mere drunken driving or something far more sinister. Susan really comes into her own in this book, and is actually more of a viewpoint character than Archie; Archie¿s attachment to a serial killer who tried her hardest to kill him is simply too hard to fathom for the average reader. It¿s sort of like watching Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lector at the end of Thomas Harris¿s Hannibal ¿ not quite as hard to take, not quite as unbelievable, but tinkering right on the brink. Cain actually handles this situation more masterfully than Harris does, with an explanation that many may have seen coming, and that I should have but didn¿t.Cain tells her story in short chapters and punchy language ¿ the formula for a bestselling thriller that won¿t tax the reader in the slightest. There is no challenge to this book, no puzzle to work out, nothing but gore and a thrill on every page. Literature this ain¿t. If a straightforward story full of suspense is what you like ¿ and you know, during a summer week when I¿m sick of work, I sure do ¿ this is the perfect book for you.
theanalogdivide on LibraryThing 3 months ago
It's clear that the effort to turn this into a long-haul series doesn't suit this particular story one bit. This sequel squanders a lot of the promise of the first novel by treating the story as an afterthought to the soap-operatic entanglements of its characters.
bhowell on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a taut and gruesome thriller and an easy read. The notion of a female serial killer may not be very realistic but the obsessive relationship between her and Portland detective Archie Sheridan is terrifying. She is a female Hannibal Lector and he is a broken man. Highly entertaining.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Well, I thought the book had really great parts, where it was thrilling and parts where there were quite a few surprises uncovered, but the book just didn't really live up to the first one. I thought the first one was much more engaging and had a very complete, full plot. Sweetheart though, I'm not sure what to say about it. The plot just seemed to stagnate and it seemed to pick up a little towards the end but it just didn't have the same fast thrilling ride like the other one.Gretchen still hasn't changed, she's still the same psychotic "Hannibal Lecter" we all have come to know since Heartsick. Although, there's just something about her that I can't seem quite to understand and grasp. True, she's a villain but I've read other ones that would easily take the "Crown of Evil" away in a heartbeat. Perhaps it's because there's not much information about her yet, I'm not sure. She just feels so "wooden" but it's as if the author has tried a little too hard to make her a villain and instead the result is a stagnant villain with a dysfunctional relationship with Archie and it's puzzling. There's no feeling from her, no "flesh" to her I guess, she seems entirely two dimensional. I don't know what to say about Archie. I don't understand what he's trying to do with Gretchen. On the other hand, it seems he wants to be with her but knows it's wrong but does it anyway yet somehow "covers" it up by trying to recapture her (at least, in my opinion it sure looks that way). It's this rather strange chemistry between these two that I don't quite get and it seems to put a bit of a damper on the book.The case with the Senator and the underage teen was interesting, but it just seemed so out of place with the main Gretchen/Archie plot that it looked like it was meant as a page filler for the novel. Thankfully though, the chapters were short so it felt as if you could read through the book quickly and easily. Don't get me wrong, the book wasn't so bad. However I thought it could be so much better. The thrilling action bits were good and nearly redeemed the book but it just wasn't enough. I'm really hoping the third one after this will do the job and not be a giant snowball going downhill. The ending was really good and was left in a cliffhanger, but I really hope this relationship/obsession between Archie and Gretchen does somewhat come to a closure, it's just too dysfunctional for me. overall, I'm not sure what to say. It was good, yet in so many ways it could have been better. It's a fast read with short chapters so it can be easily breezed through. It's a "must read" though, if you want to get through the Gretchen Lowell series.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain is the second book in her series featuring Portland, Oregon Police Detective Archie Sheridan and convicted serial killer Gretchen Lowell, known as the Beauty Killer. This book starts out with Gretchen behind bars and Archie trying, not very successfully, to put his life back together, he¿s given up visiting her, but remains obsessed. Hooked on pain pills, he is a shell of the man he once was. Newspaper reporter Susan Ward who was also a key player in the Beauty Killer case appears to have been more successful at getting on with her life, although she appears to still think about Archie a little too often.The body of a woman is discovered in a local park and as the police search the area, human remains from two more people are discovered. These bodies all appear to be connected to a story that Susan is working on that involves a well respected Senator. Things change suddenly when Gretchen escapes and is on the loose, the police focus shifts to the serial killer and Archie knows he is the only one who can capture her.I enjoyed this sequel and will definitely be on the lookout for the next book in this series. I don¿t read books about serial killers looking for total accuracy but I must admit I have difficulty believing that Archie would be allowed to continue on the police force in his condition. I have nothing against ¿flawed¿ characters, but I am sure his friends and family would have intervened before it got to the point that it did.As serial killers go, Gretchen Lowell is pretty compelling and it¿s a nice twist to have a female monster. All in all, a well written, quick, escapist read.
nancyf on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Sweetheart is the second novel in a series featuring detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen is a beautiful, but deadly, psychopath who Archie is powerless to resist. She fascinates and repels him at the same time.Archie is drawn back into her web when she escapes from prison and he forms a plan to catch her and end her influence over him once and for all. Unfortunately, things don¿t quite work out as he planned.In spite of the blood and gore, I would recommend this fast-paced read if you¿re looking for something quick that doesn¿t require a lot of concentration. I did find the ending to be a tad unbelievable.
NovelBookworm on LibraryThing 3 months ago
She¿s baaack¿Gretchen Lowell, the beautiful serial killer introduced to us in Chelsea Cain¿s first novel; returns in her second, Sweetheart. Gretchen has escaped from prison; Archie Sheridan is still a terrible mess from his first encounter with her and of course, that weird obsessive connection they have still exists. Sweetheart isn¿t quite as gruesome and graphic as Cain¿s first novel. There are certain plot devices that work better if we just go with them; Gretchen drives a Jag, with the comment tossed off, that she ¿had some money set aside¿. Hmm¿oookay¿not sure exactly how a gorgeous serial killer who¿s been in prison and just escaped can access funds and go buy a Jag without anyone noticing. But, the author has done a fine job of setting up Gretchen¿s ability to manipulate men and get them to do her bidding, so we can assume the same here. Anyway, a woman like Gretchen Lowell would not ever be seen driving a Ford. The plot device at the end, which allowed Archie¿s partner and a journalist to locate him, also seemed a little contrived. I was a bit doubtful that a cop would leave such an obscure clue for his partner, and then be so certain that it would be solved. Again, Cain does a tricky two-step around this problem by showing us Archie¿s motivation for discovery being delayed. Fancy footwork maybe, but I bought it!I¿m mildly ambivalent about the ending as well. Would I have liked a different ending? Maybe. It might have seemed more logical for the end to be what it was leading to, not what it was. Do I completely understand the ending we¿re given? Absolutely. If I had conceived of this terrifically scary, gorgeous, creepy, insane/sane Hannibal Lecter-ish woman, I¿d want to keep her around for a few more books as well. I¿m hoping Chelsea Cain is hard at work on book three. I feel like we¿re just starting to know her characters and I really want to see where the author is planning on taking them. And maybe someday, a ¿prequel¿?
gkleinman on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Cain avoids a sophomore slump with a novel that shows her growth as a writer and her potential. In [[ASIN:0312947151 Heartsick]] Cain unsuccessfully intertwined two mysteries and filled her pages with so many descriptions that the story stumbled over them. In Sweetheart she's found a better finesse on her intertwined mysteries with a clear realization that the main story of detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell is the reason readers will be coming back for more. Cain is growing as a writer and Sweetheart is a solid step in what should be a stellar career. As much as I enjoy the dance between Sheridan and Lowell I don't think I'd be all that interested in coming back for more. The characters have reached their natural archs and this book should be the end of the series. Unfortunately Cain seems to capitulate to the pressures in the publishing world to continue a successful series and softens the end, which could instead have been a shocker.While not a perfect book by any stretch of the imagination, Sweetheart is a solid psychological thriller and is highly recommended for readers who were seduced by the Hannibal Lechter/ Clarisse Starling like connection between the characters in Heartsick.
meags222 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This book is the 2nd book following the lives of a detective and an imprisoned psychopath. The detective was once the victim of the psychopath and now she has escaped from jail. I enjoyed the first book and this book was quite interesting as well. It took me a little while to get into it. The detective in the book is addicted to drugs and self-destructive. At times I must admit that I really couldn't sympathize with the detective regardless of what he had been through. Even with all the support around him, Archie (the detective) still can't seem to open up to help of any kind. I found the dynamic of the relationships in this novel so bizarre. Even though Archie is brought to the brink of death he still has sexual fantasies about his killer and goes as far as wanting to visit his torturer. I wouldn't say this is a classic that will be around forever and I don't think it will win any awards. This being said, it was a good read to keep you in suspence.
miyurose on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I think that Chelsea Cain has really explored an area that is rarely seen in suspense fiction¿ What happens to the victims? What happens to those who have been attacked, tortured, nearly killed? How do they cope? Is it possible to live your life like nothing happened? When this book begins, you think that maybe Archie has started down a new path¿ He¿s taking fewer pills, he hasn¿t seen Gretchen in months, he¿s moved back in with his ex-wife and kids¿ But then Gretchen sings her siren song, and once again Archie can¿t help but to come running. I think in this book, more than in Heartsick, you learn a little more about who Archie really is, and of the true nature of the relationship between he and Gretchen.There are no ¿heroes¿ in this book, but there is a lot of obsession. Archie is obsessed with Gretchen, who is in turn obsessed with him. Henry is obsessed with keeping Archie away from Gretchen. Susan is obsessed with the chase for a story, and not a little obsessed with herself. Everyone has their own personal motives, and these motives push the story along. But in the end they manage to work together to bring about what may not exactly be a happy ending, but is at least some closure.I think the Senator Cassell (sic) mystery gets a little buried under all of the Archie & Gretchen stuff, but it still has an interesting ending. A third book in this series is due next September, and I can¿t wait!
bookappeal on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Just as creepy as Heartsick and Archie is even more interesting in the sequel. Susan's character is better developed in this story, too. The ending could have been better.
gretchenlg on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Admirable follow-up to Heartsick. More is revealed about the relationship between Gretchen and Archie, but surrounding characters are even more compelling, especially reporter Susan and her mother Bliss, and Archie's protector and friend, Henry.
readingrat on LibraryThing 3 months ago
In this follow up book to Heartsick, the relationship between Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan has evolved from predator/victim into a bizarre mutual destructive obsession for both. This adds a unique psychological angle to the story of Archie's pursuit of Gretchen and conversely Gretchen's pursuit of Archie, which ultimately makes this book extremely hard to put down.
Cauterize on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is the second book by Chelsea Cain about Archie, a police detective, and Gretchen, a totally uncompromising female serial killer. It sort of loosely follows the plot of Silence of the Lambs/Manhunter. Gretchen was apparently captured in the previous book and Archie has been visiting her in jail to get help with his latest case and also to get the burial places of the 200 people Gretchen killed. The difference is the sick, twisted relationship the two have. Where Clarisse (sp?) was fearful of Hannibal but was using him to further her career, Archie is a seasoned detective who is afraid of his own obsession with Gretchen. For in the first book, when Gretchen was free, she kidnapped Archie and tortured him for 10 days. And there is the delight of the book. The flashbacks of when Archie was hunting Gretchen and her torturing him are GRUESOME. Love it. Gretchen likes to kill, she's smart and she has no redeeming qualities. No wishy-washy girl who has empathy because, you know, women are born with it. No, Gretchen is badass. Archie is trying to pick up his life in this book, but it's hard with Gretchen on his mind. This book is great balancing out the twistedness of Gretchen who embraces it, with Archie who fears his own twisted yearnings for Gretchen.