HeartSick, by Chelsea Cain

Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell Series #1) by Chelsea Cain: Book CoverFinished 5-10-11, rating 4.25/5, thriller, 324 pages, pub. 2007

He picked up the phone. “Yeah,” he said.  He was sitting in his living room in the dark.  He hadn’t planned it that way.  He had just sat down a few hours before and the sun had set and he hadn’t bothered to turn on the light.  Plus, the dingy apartment, with its sparse furnishings and stained carpet, looked slightly less cloaked in blackness.

Henry’s gruff voice filled the phone line.  “He took another girl,” he said. And there you had it.

The digital clock that sat on the empty bookcase blinked insistently in the dim room.  It was an hour and thirty-five minutes off, but Archie had never bothered to reset it.  He just did the math to calculate the time. “So they want to reconvene the task force,” Archie said.

Chapter 2

Archie is a damaged police detective out on medical leave until a serial killer reels him back in.  Susan is a damaged newspaper reporter asked to cover Archie and his new task force as they investigate a series of murdered high school girls.  Gretchen is a damaged serial killer (is there any other kind?) who still has her hooks in Archie, even from prison.

So, this is your standard serial killer thriller until you add all of the baggage these three are carrying.  I love flaws and Archie has many.  He gets aroused by a woman who held him captive and tried to kill him, takes way too many pills, and has abandoned a family who loves him.  And the worst part?  He knows his fate and doesn’t want to be saved.

Susan was my favorite character.  The reporter with the pink hair who has father figure issues and while Archie uses pills to deal with his pain, she uses sex to deal with hers.  But she also had a vibrant  humanity.  She still cared about not exploiting victims and being a real reporter who did stories that matter.

Gretchen is one crazy serial killer.  She and Archie’s relationship really creeped me out.  That she could creep me out from prison is saying something.

It’s the characters that made the story, even though the plot was good too.  My only complaint is that the end felt a little too much like a standard thriller wrap up when the rest of the story had been unique.  But that is not stopping me from adding the next book in this series to my reading list.  I can’t wait to revisit these characters.

I almost forgot to mention how much Portland, Oregon comes alive.  I’ve always wanted to visit and now I feel as though I have!

Highly recommended for thriller fans.

This book is from my personal library.

20 thoughts on “HeartSick, by Chelsea Cain

  1. Heather says:

    This one sounds like a winner for me. I lived in Portland for three years and graduated college from there, love mysteries, and my husband’s name is Archie! Gotta check this one out!

  2. Marce says:

    I enjoyed this one and my favourite character was Susan also. The 2nd in the book is what got my attention but I haven’t read it yet, I must do that.

  3. Jenners says:

    I read this last year after seeing it recommended on a blog and it was a crazy little read. I got the second one to continue on in the series but have been letting it sit for some reason. I need to get back into it.

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