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Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Book 2) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

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Sweetheart Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 2, 2008

341 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Cain's superb follow-up to Heartsick, damaged detective Archie Sheridan is back home in Portland, Ore., trying to resume a normal life. Archie's ties to serial killer Gretchen Lowell still run deep, even if he's stopped their weekly visits in prison. Meanwhile, reporter Susan Ward is finishing an article accusing a beloved U.S. senator of seducing his children's 14-year-old babysitter a decade earlier. When three bodies are discovered in a local park—where Archie's team found Gretchen's first victim 12 years earlier—Archie worries another serial killer is at large. After the senator's unexpected death, Susan discovers links between the sex scandal and the bodies in the park. When Gretchen escapes from prison, Archie knows he's the only one who can stop her from killing. In Cain's capable hands, Gretchen is both a monster and the only person who truly understands Archie's pain. With its brisk pacing, carefully metered violence and tortured hero, Cain's sophomore effort will leave readers desperate for more. 200,000 first printing. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* It was apparent at the end of Cain’s masterful Heartsick (2007) that we hadn’t heard the last from either Gretchen Lowell, the most mesmerizing serial killer since a fellow named Hannibal, or Archie Sheridan, the Portland cop whom Gretchen tortured and then freed, locking the two of them into a creepy symbiotic relationship somewhere between Romeo and Juliet and Holmes and Moriarity. Cain picks up the story with Sheridan trying to overcome his addictions to pain pills and Gretchen, respectively, and not doing very well with either. A new case—bodies found in a Portland park, near where Gretchen’s first victim was discovered—provides distraction as well as bringing punky, turquoise-haired reporter Susan Ward back into his life, but neither is enough to get Gretchen out of his mind. Then she escapes from prison, determined to draw Archie away from his family, away from his job, and into her arms for a deadly pas de deux. There is a little less gut-wrenching tension this time than there was in Heartsick—and less gut-wrenching gore, too—but there is considerably more psychological complexity, as the knot binding Archie to Gretchen tightens further. The psychosexual interplay between the two is endlessly fascinating and, amazingly, thoroughly believable. In addition, Cain gives more space to her supporting cast—especially reporter Ward, who seems ready for a starring role herself. It’s hard to say how long Cain can play out this lovers’ duel between Archie and Gretchen before they tumble into their own Reichenbach Falls, but it’s a sure thing we won’t be leaving our seats before the final curtain. --Bill Ott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031236847X
  • ASIN: B0027CSNEY
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (341 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chelsea Cain is the author of The New York Times bestselling thrillers HEARTSICK, SWEETHEART, EVIL AT HEART, THE NIGHT SEASON, and KILL YOU TWICE. Her Portland-based thrillers, described by The New York Times as "steamy and perverse," have been published in over 25 languages, recommended on "The Today Show," appeared in episodes of HBO's "True Blood" and ABC's "Castle," named among Stephen King's top ten favorite books of the year, and included in NPR's list of the top 100 thrillers ever written. According to Booklist, "Popular entertainment just doesn't get much better than this."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By enubrius VINE VOICE on July 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Sweetheart" is the sequel to last year's "Heartsick" both featuring hapless (and spleenless... don't ask)detective Archie Sheridan and America's sexiest serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Taken together they form a rather complex tale of masochism, sadism, disgusting behavior, horrific, even nauseating, perversion, and grue and gore. Needless to say, I loved every sick moment of it! To note, as the publisher does, that Gretchen is a sort of female Hannibal Lecter, is to oversimplify to the point of ridiculousness. She is her own stunning creation and more than a match for Thomas Harris' cannibal. Add to that the fact that "Sweetheart" is in and of itself, a pretty darn good whodunnit, and you've got a winner. One thing though: while some series/sequels are stand-alone enough to be read on their own, "Sweetheart" loses FAR too much if you don't read "Heartsick" first. Not to worry, though, you'll love it!
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72 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Seven Kitties on July 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Second novels in a series are notoriously hard to write: the honeymoon period of just getting to know the characters is over, and look for more depth and roundness, while still demanding more of the 'good stuff' from the first novel.

If you loved _Heartsick_, you'll probably like this one. Like, not love, though. She's toned down the gruesome and replaced it with monumentally needless graphic sex and a metric ton of f-bombs. Even the exposition uses the naughty word. It makes her seem to be trying just a bit too hard to be gritty, rather like her character Susan who thinks she's edgy but is constantly out-edgied by her mother. And once again, you'll be treated to unnecessary descriptions of what EVERYONE is wearing. Seriously--why do I need to know that a morgue tech who doesn't even get a name or a line of dialogue is wearing corduroys? Or my personal favorite: "'There's a press conference at six,' Ian said. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt he'd bought at the MOMA gift store. 'You want it?'" 'Scuse me, but I'm not sure why I need to know Ian's sartorial choices at this particular juncture? Relevant to plot? No. Relevant to mood? No. Relevant to character building? Nope, we already know Ian pretty well. His clothes haven't changed from his carefully overdescribed wardrobe in _Heartsick_.

Because, oh yes, everyone's back. Remember that Molly Palmer story Susan was trying to promote in novel one? It's back, and apparently a key to a really rather trite and played out conspiracy-of-dunces scandal. And once again, the fresh dead bodies seem to take second stage to the older dead bodies, victims of Gretchen. Susan's less annoying this time, but Archie goes from a sympathetic character to a whingeing sad-sack. Take that as a double-entendre if you wish.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Angry Rooster on August 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Following hot on the heels of the bestselling HEARTSICK, Chelsea Cain continues the story of Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan in SWEETHEART. The second installment is really a continuation of the first as opposed to a full-blown sequel. The narrative picks up about two months after the conclusion of the first book. Sheridan is now back at home with his wife. He is no longer visiting Lowell in prison, though he obsesses about her and half-heartedly battles his downward spiral of prescription drug cocktails and dark fantasies.

Another body and unresolved cases brings many of the characters from HEARTSICK back. The rapid-fire pace of narrative that attracted me to the first novel isn't apparent in the follow-up. Perhaps its because Ms Cain has had time walk around in her characters' skins a little more or perhaps the reduction in pressure of "having to get it right", now that she has a bestseller, has allowed her to relax. Marginal players from HEARTSICK are fleshed out including Sheridan's long-suffering and guilt-ridden partner and his wife.

Lowell is too devious in SWEETHEART. She moves from the very clever to the unfathomably brilliant, able to predict the actions of police agencies and individuals alike as she contrives to end up in the prison hospital (where she will only tell Sheridan who attacked her), followed up a transfer across state, where she is conveniently under-guarded and manages to escape.

What follows is, unfortunately, a long litany of cliches and "just-in-time" arrivals. Sheridan and family, as well as Sue Ward, the reporter from the first story are all placed into protective custody but Lowell manages to track Sheridan down and he is more than willing to give himself to her, quite literally.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Bakken on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having been a big fan of Heartsick, I eagerly anticipated the follow-up. What a waste of time.

Endless descriptions of trivial activities bog down a weightless plot and whining characters. Do we really need page after page of shrewish reporter Susan looking for somewhere to smoke? Her mother doing nude yoga? None of this is as cute as Caine seems to think it is.

Slow moving, de-clawed characters, witless protagonist... sadly, the list is endless.

This follow up pales miserably next to Hearsick. Avoid.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Billy Stewart VINE VOICE on August 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read, and did not enjoy, Heartsick, the first book in this series. Cain's 2nd attempt here is not any better than I found the first to be. The story is uninvolving, lacking in creative story-telling and descriptions and wanting for suspense and mystery. It is an unfortunate attempt at a female Hannibal Lecter and it fails miserably.

To top this off, Cain, who is from Oregon, relies too heavily on her knowledge of the area and still can't describe a place effectively enough for me to truly picture it in my mind. She's in trouble if she strays from her home and tries to describe places she knows less well.

The story meanders aimlessly with no real rhyme or reason to the chapters. It seems like a book that was written free-thought, from start to finish. Pointless thoughts, meaningless descriptions, or un-necessary discussions pop up throughout the story. Several times, I had to go back and re-read 2 or 3 chapters thinking, "I must have missed something", but no, it was just an obscure and pointless reference to something that did not apply to the subject at hand and never panned out in the story as a whole.

None of the characters, after 2 novels, have become any more real. They are one-dimensional, cardboard, milquetoast or just downright boring. Names mean nothing because the characters have no personality that jumps from the pages and makes you remember them.

The story is contrived and predictable. The outcome is so far out of left field that no one will see it coming, but that doesn't make it a good ending. Nothing set up in the book leads to what the reader arrives at after several hundred pages.
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