Book Review: The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #4)

Heavy rains have burst the banks of the Willamette River; several people have died in the furiously rising waters…but the latest victim didn’t drown. She was killed before she went into the water. Soon, other victims are found, and Police Detective Archie Sheridan realises that Portland has a new serial killer on its hands.

Reporter Susan Ward is on the story, but she’s got other leads to chase, and some secrets can be frightening for prying eyes. With Archie following a bizarre trail of evidence, and Susan close behind, the pair must unearth the identity of a vicious murderer, and uncover the truth behind a mystery more than sixty years old…

Book 1: Heartsick review     Book 2: Sweetheart review       Book 3: Evil at Heart review

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The flood was more terrifying than the killings.

Gretchen Lowell is nowhere to be found in The Night Season. Well, up until the last minute. And as minute her appearance was, it made me excited for the next installment of this series.

Philippines has always been an ‘unwilling home’ to typhoons, which almost always result in floods. I guess you could say it is nothing but a common occurence to us Filipinos. When the city of Portland was submerged in a flood they haven’t seen in ages, I understood it, how scared they were. And the terror was doubled when Archie Sheridan realized someone is using the deluge to get away with murders.

I saw little of Henry Sobol (I actually liked this guy), but got compensated with Susan Ward‘s maturing character, and increasing weirdness (she constantly mouths useless trivia, and I found it entertaining). As for Archie, I am starting to warm to him again. His defiance to not let Gretchen control his life was getting stronger. Just a bit more, and I believe he can defeat The Beauty Killer in her own twisted game.

Looking forward to the next book, Kill You Twice!

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THE NIGHT SEASON by Chelsea Cain

Paperback, 388 pages

Published 2011 by Pan Books

4/5 stars

Book Review: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #3)

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. These days, she’s more of a cause celebre than a feared killer, thanks to sensationalist news coverage that has made her a star. Her face graces magazine covers weekly and there have been sightings of her around the world. Most shocking of all, “Portland Herald” reporter Susan Ward has uncovered a bizarre kind of fan club, which celebrates the number of days she’s been free.
Archie Sheridan hunted her for a decade, and after his last ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong, remains hospitalized months later. When they last spoke, they entered a detente of sorts—Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But when a new body is found accompanied by Gretchen’s trademark heart, all bets are off and Archie is forced back into action. Has the Beauty Killer returned to her gruesome ways, or has the cult surrounding her created a whole new evil?

Book 1: Heartsick review     Book 2: Sweetheart review

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Three books into this series and I am still hooked. Even though I think Evil at Heart has too much mind games for my taste, it never failed to give me what I want: heart-stopping suspense.

I think the character development is the strength of this installment. Archie Sheridan is (almost) over Gretchen. Susan Ward is getting smarter by the day. Henry Sobol is one fantastic friend and detective.

I don’t need complications for a book to be a good thriller, and Evil at Heart would’ve have worked better for me, if Chelsea Cain just cut through the chase, you know? I keep thinking that Archie is f*cked up enough to be handling intricate puzzles in his miserable lifetime.

Still, I am gunning for The Night Season to keep me at the edge of my seat by the time I pick it up. I want to see more of Gretchen, as an ordinary person same as everyone else. Because it would help Archie if he knew that she really has no power over him. And because I want Archie to have some semblance of a normal life in the upcoming installments.

Am I hoping for too much? Ha.

Evil at Heart shows how much Gretchen loves to play with everyone. Bodies are piling up even though she has no hand in it? Now, that’s a talent.

(I am a member of her fan club, true.)

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EVIL AT HEART by Chelsea Cain

Hardcover, 308 pages

Published September 1st 2009 by Minotaur Books

3/5 stars

Book Review: Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #2)

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland’s Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the last time they found a body there, more than a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. This body can’t be one of Gretchen’s—she’s in prison—but after help from reporter Susan Ward uncovers the dead woman’s identity, it turns into another big case. Trouble is, Archie can’t focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison.

Archie hadn’t seen her in two months; he’d moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he’s relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all.

Book 1: Heartsick review

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… so this is a different take on brutal. There are less grisly scenes, but my heart, oh my heart! It took a beating that I never thought would’ve been possible when reading a mystery crime book. 😦

I don’t like Archie in Sweetheart because now I see how his ex-wife Debbie sees him when they are on the subject of Gretchen. He was in denial, inconsolable, stubborn, and over-the-top obsessed. But I admit it was brilliant that despite his uncontrollable feelings for Gretchen, he still managed to come up with a plan to capture her. Too bad his health is failing. and his heart is breaking. He really is messed up to the f*ck.

I was wary of Gretchen because she got Archie wrapped around her delicate, perfect finger. Still, it was always a surprise to catch her off-guard when she displays affection and emotion towards Archie. It sounded sick and revolting, I know, but it felt saddening in more ways than one. Now I am more than curious on her back story! What happened to you, Gretchen, before you were a serial killer?

I liked Henry and Susan. Their devotion for the truth and family was remarkable.

Sweetheart is a heart-numbing read. I really liked that Cain was not afraid to tell a story that was so unconventional it bordered on repugnant. But… I need a breather (like a month or two) before I read the next book, Evil at Heart.

#8 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013

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SWEETHEART by Chelsea Cain

Paperback, 352 pages

Published September 1st 2009 by Minotaur Books

4/5 stars

Book Review: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1

Damaged Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer, but in the end she was the one who caught him. Two years ago, Gretchen kidnapped Archie and tortured him for ten days, but instead of killing him, she mysteriously decided to let him go. She turned herself in, and now Gretchen has been locked away for the rest of her life, while Archie is in a prison of another kind—addicted to pain pills, unable to return to his old life, powerless to get those ten horrific days off his mind. Archie’s a different person, his estranged wife says, and he knows she’s right. He continues to visit Gretchen in prison once a week, saying that only he can get her to confess as to the whereabouts of more of her victims, but even he knows the truth—he can’t stay away.

When another killer begins snatching teenage girls off the streets of Portland, Archie has to pull himself together enough to lead the new task force investigating the murders. A hungry young newspaper reporter, Susan Ward, begins profiling Archie and the investigation, which sparks a deadly game between Archie, Susan, the new killer, and even Gretchen. They need to catch a killer, and maybe somehow then Archie can free himself from Gretchen, once and for all.

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…Yeees! Oh, how i love thee. *evil grin*

My fascination with serial killers came back with Heartsick. With a woman as the serial killer made it all the more interesting. I miss watching Dexter. =(

Archie and Gretchen have a very complicated relationship. You’d think Archie doesn’t want anything to do with her after she abducted, tortured, left him wanting to die, then turn herself over to the police. Chelsea Cain is playing with my emotions, because I felt something for Gretchen other than hate and revulsion.

The story was compact. I loved Archie‘s POV. He knows there’s something wrong with him, that his life sucked, and his mixed feelings for Gretchen were abnormal. Still, he does a good job being a cop. But the darkness Gretchen showed him during his time with her remained.

Susan the reporter is okay, too. Her life is as f*cked up as Archie’s, but she hides it well. The way Gretchen read her like an open book whe she visited at the prison is so enjoyable. Hee.

I am in love with how Gretchen‘s mind works! Manipulative, smart, and very, very devious. This is the villain to beat!

Heartsick has gore, horror, and pain. I had an unbelievably good time reading it! It takes one to know one, right? So in order for Archie to defeat Gretchen once and for all, he has to think and act like her. like a maniac. 🙂

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HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain

Hardbound, 336 pages

Published September 4th 2007 by Minotaur Books

5/5 stars