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Evil at Heart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell) Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Gretchen Lowell strikes again—or does she?—in bestseller Cain's grisly third thriller to feature the female serial killer who takes sadistic pleasure in taunting Portland, Ore., detective Archie Sheridan (after Sweetheart and Heartsick). A violent attack that leaves body parts in a rest stop bathroom, along with Lowell's signature heart design, persuades Sheridan, a recovering Vicodin addict, to leave rehab and rejoin the hunt for Lowell. As he and newspaper reporter Susan Ward dig deeper, they discover that while the corpses cropping up around town are reminiscent of Lowell's nasty handiwork, they might also point to one of the myriad fan clubs dedicated to the killer, who has become a media sensation since she escaped from prison in Heartsick. Even though readers may wonder how much longer this extended game can play out, Cain delivers her usual blend of organ-ripping, blood-soaked gore and compelling flawed heroes—and antiheroes. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Praise for Chelsea Cain
“Cain’s debut Heartsick had even the most jaded thriller fans sleeping with the lights on. She tells an equally frightening story in Sweetheart. . . . This is one of the best series in the contemporary thriller genre. Only downside: waiting for Cain’s next novel.”
“Cain skillfully recruits us as moral caretakers as Archie struggles to overcome his sexual Stockholm Syndrome. . . . She invents Gretchen in wanton, wide-screen glory. . . . The novel is sensual and engulfing.”
---The New York Times Book Review
“The forces that conspired to make Cain’s Heartsick a bestselling page-turner last year have reunited in its sequel. . . . With her preternatural grasp of pacing and ability to create vivid characters with astonishing economy, Cain expertly drives her narrative.”
---Los Angeles Times
“We’ve been down Hannibal Lecter Avenue many times, and these two books shouldn’t work . . . but they do. Chalk it up to excellent writing and Cain’s ferocious sense of humor. The Portland (Ore.) setting is refreshing too.”
---Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly
“Heartsick is worth all the hype . . . brilliant.”
---New York Post
“In her dynamite first thriller, Cain introduces one of the most seductive and original psychopaths since Hannibal Lecter.”
“Steamy and perverse.”
---The New York Times
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Top Customer Reviews
Evil At Heart is fast-paced and can leave you breathless. The plot follows a female serial killer whose depraved actions have earned her her very own cult following. If you like suspense and aren't horrified by gory details, then Evil At Heart is a must read.
At 306 pages, the book falls somewhere between a novella and a real meaty novel, in my opinion. It took me only a couple of hours to finish, and by the middle of the book, I really felt I'd missed a great deal by not having read the first two books in the series first, especially book 2, where apparently a great deal of the physical action took place. So while it's probably not necessary, I still would recommend that if you can, you read the series in order (Sweetheart and Heartsick, I believe were the first two).
The crime scenes are suitably gruesome - occasionally a little over the top gruesome with eyeballs floating in toilet tanks and people hanging off ceiling hooks by their genitals, but I have a feeling that I'd have been less shocked if I'd read the previous books since it was mentioned quite a few times how awful Gretchen's murders were. The twist at the end was interesting - well, there were multiple twists and red herrings and some dangling plotlines that I think the author meant for the reader to figure out.
In tone, Evil at Heart reminded me a bit of Thomas Harris' Manhunter with a little real-life dash of crime in the form of Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembeneck (Run, Bambi, Run) tossed in for good measure. Cain keeps up a relatively quick pace and while most of the focus is on Archie, she devotes some page time to journalist Susan and cop Henry. I never felt like I got to know Susan though, as much as she appeared in the book - and maybe it was me, but she seemed rather annoying most of the time.
All in all, I found the book a good, quick suspenseful read and Cain is excellent at keeping her reader interested. I expected to enjoy the book a bit more than I did based on the synopsis, and I have a feeling I would have enjoyed books 1 and 2 a bit more. The resolution of book 3 left me feeling wondering if this was the end of the series or if Cain would extend it.
Apparently others found this to be an absolutely cruddy read based on the two prior books. Not having read them, my review is strictly for this book, as a standalone read, simply as is. I didn't find the book horrendously awful, nor was it the best I've ever read, but as noted, it probably would have gained something if read as part of the series and not alone. This is an odd book, as I can't really say I'd recommend or not recommend it strongly. I think if you've got the time and you like the genre, I'd recommend all three together, but I don't think I'd recommend buying just one of the series, even based on my 4 star rating.
Is she some sort of vampire? A witch with the powers of hypnosis? I just don't get it, and it's the only irritating part of the series but it's EXTREMELY irritating. It was really a good plot twist in the first book: "OMG! She has a partner!". Now every third person introduced in the book is secretly a servant of Gretchen Lowell.
Sorry, this plot device is overused and just not believable anymore. You end up spending more time playing "Spot the mole" than following the actual mystery.
I liked Chelsea Cain's third book but really have to recommend that potential readers contemplating buying this one get copies of her prior two novels first. Heartsick -- Sweetheart Without a good introduction to the characters of Archie and Gretchen "The Beauty Killer" from the prior novels you may be left with a sense of "what is going on here?".
I found this third book a bit disjointed but fast moving. I read the other two novels about 1 year ago and I was still able to recollect what I needed to help "Evil at Heart" make perfect sense to me.
Chelsea Cain is a great writer and her literary characters are well developed. You'll be pulled in from page 1 ... guaranteed.
This is a fantastic book. I am giving it 5 stars with the assumption and hope that readers will venture into Chelsea's earlier novels.
Definitely creepy stuff and not for the faint of heart!