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Kill You Twice: An Archie Sheridan / Gretchen Lowell Novel Hardcover – August 7, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 244 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“In this fifth Archie/Gretchen matchup, Chelsea Cain’s writing is sharp as a scalpel, and Delaine wields it with deadly accuracy.” – AudioFile Magazine, AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

“Reader Christina Delaine does a fine job differentiating between female characters…Her triumph is the evil tone she brings to Gretchen.” – The Star-Ledger


Praise for the print edition of Kill You Twice

“Utterly fresh and compelling. . .Cain hits the narrative throttle with all cylinders firing. Like the best thriller writers, though, she knows how to ease off the throttle, too, making room for subtle and satisfying character interplay but at the same time building tension as we wait for the narrative to burst into overdrive once again. Masterful on every level.”
Booklist (starred review)

"Utter engrossing. . .Cain [creates] riveting character drama between two damaged souls."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Night Season

“Cain’s novel has headlong pacing, endearing characters, twisted humor, and scalpel-sharp descriptions of murder and mayhem. It grabs you like a deadly undertow and doesn’t let you go.”
—Parade Magazine

“High-octane ending. . .The world that Cain creates is as dark and ominous as ever.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Cain kept me perilously on edge at all times, teetering off a watery precipice from which there may have been no escape. I cannot recommend her immersive work highly enough.”
—Louisville Courier-Journal

“Cain’s prose is taut, tense, and terrifying as this strange case develops and shudders with new details and twists. You’ll never guess the ending.”
—Providence Journal

“Superb. . .Cain skillfully incorporates the details of the real-life Vanport flood into her story… Cain pinned readers to their seats with a unique mix of horror, black humor, and psychological tension. This time she adds another arrow to her narrative quiver: the interplay between landscape and mood. This may be the best thriller set in a flooding city since Donna Leon’s Acqua Alta.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“Superb. . .[Cain is] the new queen of serial-killer fiction.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Cain's fine fourth thriller. . .Cain easily weaves the history of the real-life Vanport flood with her trademark heart-stopping moments, and fans will be pleased to see the series flourishing without Gretchen on every page.”
—Publishers Weekly (Top 10 Mystery of the Year)

"Chelsea Cain fills her new novel with dark atmosphere, a quick-thinking, likable hero, fast-moving narrative and plenty of wit.”
—Associated Press

Evil at Heart

“You have to hand it to Cain, who’s made the serial-killer genre a thoroughly female-friendly experience. . .[She] churns stomachs with a delicate touch.”
The New York Times Book Review

“She's the most twisted—and most beautiful—serial killer on the planet, and she's back... Cain's wonderfully over-the-top series takes a new turn when fans of Gretchen try their hand at killing. It's not to be missed.”
USA Today

“Cain is among a new breed of women writers stepping way out of the stereotypical female comfort zones… serving up meatier and more gruesome stories. . .Cain knows how to keep readers fortified with psychological drama.”
Chicago Sun Times

“The narrative bounces along with Cain’s trademark mix of tight plotting, creepy characters, and body parts.”
—Charlotte Observer

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"Utterly engrossing."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Nothing makes Portland detective Archie Sheridan happier than knowing that Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell is locked away in a psych ward. Archie can finally heal from the near-fatal physical and emotional wounds she's inflicted on him and start moving on with his life. Or can he? His latest case, involving a man who was mutilated and murdered in a public park in broad daylight, bears the stamp of an expert killer…and before long, Archie gets a message from Gretchen, who makes him an offer he can't refuse.


Gretchen claims to have inside knowledge about the grisly Mount Tabor Park murder―and Archie can't risk losing his only lead in the case. At least, that's what he tells himself after he agrees to visit Gretchen…But the ties between Archie and Gretchen have always been stronger, deeper, and more complex than he's willing to admit, even to himself. What game is Gretchen playing this time? And even more frightening, what long-hidden secrets from her past have been dredged up that someone would kill to protect?

"Masterful on every level."―Booklist

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312619782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312619787
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I won't rehash the story line as you can get that from the Amazon product page.

In this fifth installment of the series, author Cain continues to move protagonist Archie Sheridan forward in his character development in a very satisfying way.

He's no longer in thrall to the devices and "charms" of antagonist Gretchen Lowell. In fact, he's now taking pleasure in his control over her now that she's in prison, a very healthy development. This frees him emotionally to start acting like a real cop as he takes on a series of killings that seem to stretch back over a number of years, and parallel Gretchen's activities while she was operating in her heyday.

The story is well plotted; the characters are fully developed and three-dimensional; the pacing is excellent. I have to say, I think the sidekick character of Susan is an absolute hoot; she's the "comedic foil" that rounds these stories off to a T.

I can't go into any detail as to the resolution, as that would be a huge spoiler, but suffice to say that Gretchen's still involved.

Which leads me to my thoughts on the direction this series will take moving forward. One of the truly satisfying aspects of this book is Archie's liberation from Gretchen's control. But we've already had five books that basically revolve around their relationship. How long does Cain intend to milk this?

First of all, just from a dramatic aspect, at some point there needs to be a final resolution that provides emotional reward to the reader. Archie has to kill her or something. Whatever.

But more importantly, look at any of the long-running series out there: Sanford's "Prey" books; Connelly's Bosch series; Burke's Robicheaux novels.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the 4th Archie Sheridan novel I've read and I'm done! While I enjoy many "series" (Alex Delaware, Lucas Davenport, Kinsey Milhone and more...)this one has gotten old! To say it strains belief is an understatement... Archie: tortured, mutiliated, near death, etc. etc.... STILL finds he's attracted to Gretchen! Really? And it's no secret! Everyone he works with seems to be aware of this and yet, he continues to not only keep his job, but is allowed to work on cases that directly/indirectly find their way back to her! Where is Internal Affairs when you want them??? I think Ms Cain is a very good writer, but SURELY she can come up with a riviting, suspenseful novel with Archie and some NEW characters! How many times can we be expected to believe that Gretchen is going to continue to escape? And how much suspense can be generated when you just know ahead of time that the answer to any question about the plot is going to be "Gretchen".
I found myself thinking "Oh puh-leeze" about once every 20 pages! Someone let me know when Archie appears again and Gretchen doesn't. Then I'll read another one of Ms Cain's books.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Archie Sheridan has been living a Gretchen Lowell free life while she is locked in a mental institution. For years after she tortured him, almost killed him, and then saved him, Archie's life has revolved around her and been basically ruined as a result. Now, he no longer pops Vicodin like they were candy and has begun to move on and heal emotionally away from her manipulation. He throws himself into solving a new case involving a serial killer who tortures the victims and leaves them in very public places, leaving no traces behind. With a string of victims with no real leads, Archie can no longer ignore Gretchen when she says she knows something about the current killings. Although he's treading carefully, she can be very manipulative and dangerous even drugged up and restrained in a mental institution. Can she actually help in the case or does she just aim to destroy Archie again? Will Archie find the killer before he/she kills again?

Ever since Heartsick, the first book in the series, I have found Gretchen Lowell to be one of the most magnetic and interesting antagonists in literature and one of the only fictional female serial killers. Each book uncovered a little more about her, mostly in the context of her relationship with Archie. The fourth book in the series, The Night Season, had only the barest mention of her character. I understood that Gretchen isn't the whole series and maybe Chelsea Cain wanted to move away from her and make Archie stand alone. I couldn't help but be a tiny bit disappointed. It is so nice to have Gretchen back in a way we have never seen her. Kill You Twice delves into part of her origin story. Not her childhood or her biological family, but her inception as a serial killer in her teenage years, the start of the Beauty Killer.
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Format: Hardcover
"Kill You Twice" is Chelsea Cain's fifth novel featuring Portland Homicide Detective Archie Sheridan. Forty-one year old Sheridan's nemesis is Gretchen Lowell, also known as the Beauty Killer, who is locked up in the Oregon State Mental Hospital. Archie is just one of the many individuals whom Lowell has tortured and maimed during her lengthy criminal career. Sheridan still bears ugly physical and emotional scars from his harrowing encounters with this clever and arrogant sadist.

After struggling with an addiction to pain pills, Archie is clean but not completely healed. He is a high-strung insomniac whose marriage ended (he still sees his kids on a regular basis, at least), and he sometimes scratches his wounds until they bleed. On a bright summer day, Archie and his partner, Henry Sobol, are called to the scene of a grisly murder. The victim was tortured and mutilated. In addition, his "wrists and ankles were bound with rope and he was dangling from the lower branches of a cedar tree." At the corpse's feet "was a wilted white lily." Shortly thereafter, a woman whose body was burned beyond recognition is found, also with a lily nearby.

Those who are familiar with Cain's modus operandi will not be shocked to discover that these deaths are somehow linked to Lowell. Susan Ward, a freelance journalist, visits Gretchen in the hospital and finds out about Lowell's earliest victim. Sensing that she is on the trail of a sensational and marketable story, the reporter digs further into Gretchen's past; she uncovers facts that may lead to the identity of a bloodthirsty killer as deranged as Gretchen.

This thriller is more interesting for its insight into Gretchen's history than it is for the quality of Cain's plotting.
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