Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sweetheart, by Chelsea Cain

(hb; 2008: second book in the Gretchen Lowell series)

From the inside flap:

"When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland's Forest Park, [Portland detective] Archie [Sheridan] is reminded of the last time the police 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 when, with the help of reporter Susan Ward, he uncovers the dead woman's identity, it becomes 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 hasn't seen her in two months: he's 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 one person who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all."


Sweetheart is as fast-paced, deliciously macabre, character-interesting and slick as Cain's first novel, HeartSick. Cain's tightly-plotted sequel feels like a logical, intriguing continuation of HeartSick, while throwing new variation-twists into the series storyline.

The ending's an obvious sequel-promise, but it's acceptably consistent, as Gretchen Lowell is a fascinating, has-potential-to-be-iconic character.

Worthwhile read.

Followed by Evil At Heart.

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