(pb; 2007: first book in the Gretchen Lowell series)
From the back cover:
"Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful and brutal serial killer. In the end, she was the one who caught him. . . and tortured him. . . and then let him go. Why did Gretchen spare Archie's life and then turn herself in? This is the question that keeps him all night -- and the reason why he has visited Gretchen in prison every week since.
"Meanwhile, another series of Portland murders has Archie working on a brand-new task force. . . and heading straight into the line of fire. The local news is covering the case 24/7, and it's not long before Archie enters a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the killer -- and his former captor. But this time, it's up to Archie to save himself. . ."
Fast-paced, reader-intriguing novel, this. The characters are fully-realized, the story is ticking-clock gripping: I found the killer to be obvious, but it didn't detract from this otherwise worthwhile read. Not only that, but Cain's backdrop is rich in Portland history and locations, adding to the uncomfortably-humid mood of Heartsick.
Gretchen Lowell has the potential to become one of the more distinctive serial killers to come down the Fiction Pike in recent years, if she's handled right in future novels -- she could easily join the ranks of Norman Bates, Dexter Morgan and Hannibal Lecter, whose M.O.s are extensions of their unique personalities.
Check it out!
Followed by Sweetheart.