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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*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