Evil at Heart Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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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
The process in forcing him back was insanely creepy. The phone calls, the text messages, even the staff and inmates where Archie was staying at for treatment made a hair raising experience. You just couldn't trust anyone and any new character introduced into the scene, you had to wonder if they were under Gretchen's influence or not. I really loved the text messaging and phone calling moments. Those really creeped me out. I thought this part of the story was very well written and gave you enough chills yet not so much that it's overdone and cheesy. The mind games played between Gretchen and Archie are really good and that also keeps you reading through the book.
The underlying main plot of the book was good and only makes sense that a possibility of a copycat killer would come into the picture. The outcome of this mystery is really good and was also pretty thrilling as well. The pace of the plot was also well done and the sudden revelations with the twists and turns are also really good. Gretchen is still, an evil manipulating witch that you can't ignore.
There are still unanswered questions to Gretchen, and I'm wondering how long this is going to be. You can only stretch this storyline with Gretchen so far without making it look silly. That being said though, I've picked up Night Season already and am hoping it's just as good.
Thrilling, with a 'can't put down' feeling, fans of Archie and Gretchen will definitely be satisfied with this one. Those that are new to this should read this series in order. Be advised, there is quite a bit of gore in the book those that aren't into that should stay away.
P.S. I've ordered "The Night Season."
A serial killer with no heart except for Archie -- she's truly evil and we get a sense of just how tortured our hero is again and again
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is Cain's best work to date. Instead of playing it straight and simply grossing us out with descriptions of nauseating gore, the author injects elements of dark humor that enliven the proceedings enormously. It seems that Lowell, known popularly as the "Beauty Killer," has become something of a folk heroine. Although she has slaughtered and mutilated many men and women, her image is everywhere: She has a Wikipedia page, there are fan sites devoted to her on the Web, and people are wearing T-shirts with her face on them. Gretchen memorabilia is being sold on eBay, and there is even a "Beauty Killer Body Tour. Thirty-five bucks. Twenty crime-scene stops." How did this madwoman become an icon? Cain implies that we live in a warped society whose values have become seriously perverted. At one point, Archie says to some young Lowell groupies, "Gretchen Lowell is a psychopath. She is not some sort of antihero." He wants them to give up their adulation of this monster, but his plea falls on deaf ears.
"Evil at Heart" is a suspenseful and entertaining thriller in which Archie is forced to once again to confront his demons with the help of journalist Susan Ward and Detective Henry Sobol, Archie's close friend and colleague. They are seeking either Gretchen herself or acolytes attempting to mimic her activities. Cain's prose is witty and crisp, her dialogue is clever and often hilarious, the tidy plot is fast-paced, and the conclusion is as satisfying as can be expected, considering the unpleasant subject matter. Susan has a major role in this novel and she is a riot. With her purple hair, tendency to wisecrack, and rebellious personality, she is the poster girl for nonconformity. Even as she mocks herself for being stupid, Susan puts herself in harm's way to get material for her forthcoming book. Cain's themes are that a person can be both physically beautiful and mentally unbalanced, many individuals take a perverse pleasure in violence, and those whom we place on a pedestal are often morally bankrupt. "Evil at Heart" is highly recommended for fans who have read the first two installments in this series.
"Heartsick" and "Sweetheart" were slick and fun entertainment--pretty standard serial killer material raised to new levels of interest with the Gretchen/Archie dynamic. If you enjoyed these novels, I suspect that "Evil at Heart" will also keep you turning pages. Gretchen's actual presence is less than one might expect, but her influence permeates every page. When body parts start to surface at some of Gretchen's old murder sites (she is an escaped fugitive), the old team must try to piece together their significance. Trying to end Gretchen's hold on him once and forever, Archie must get himself out of a mental ward and back into action. And the only thing more disturbing than Gretchen herself is the legion of fans she seems to have inspired.
"Evil at Heart" is a fast and easy read that fans of the series should definitely check out. I don't know how plausible it all is, but it's an effective enough thriller. I, myself, don't like to think that anyone can be turned into a demented killer--but Gretchen seems to be able to convert a whole battalion of weak-willed souls to do her evil bidding (and in three books, there has been a battalion)! One major warning, however. Cain's book presupposes that you are familiar with her story and its characters. This is not a stand-alone novel. So little time is spent with back story or character development, I think a new reader would likely be lost or simply loathe the superficiality of the tale. I give it a pass and a recommendation because I'm already hooked into the Gretchen/Archie dance. Anyone not familiar with these two and their history will undoubtedly find less to love about "Evil at Heart."
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.
At the end of Sweetheart, Gretchen, who is known as the Beauty Killer, escaped from prison and lead Archie on a merry chase. She is now on the loose because of a pact Archie made with her. As long as he doesn't kill himself, she won't kill any other people. Now two months later Archie is in a mental hospital recovering and Gretchen has become a media superstar. She is a celebrity idol whose face is on billboards and countless magazine covers. There is even a bus tour that takes tourists to the various places where she killed. Even with all this exposure, you would think someone would spot her. But Gretchen is an untraceable phantom. Suddenly, bodies start piling up and are found in very sickening ways. Is this Gretchen at play again or perhaps a copycat? A copycat could be a good possibility because Gretchen has a fan club and many of her fans want to be just like her.
Archie's former partner Henry Sobol is called on this case and Susan Ward, reporter for the Herald, who thinks of Archie as a friend and has seen Gretchen's work up close thinks there are more to the killings than meets the eye. And because Archie is the only one who knows about Gretchen and her crimes in everyway possible, Henry asks him to help with the case. Archie doesn't think Gretchen is the one doing the killings and he rather stay at the hospital drifting away where he has no responsibilities.
Gretchen wants Archie back into the game and because she is a master manipulator, she is able to get to him even though he is under lock and key. He has no choice but to join the investigation in a different way where the rules no longer apply to him. He doesn't care if he `s putting himself in harm's way because he know Gretchen won't allow anyone to hurt him unless she can be the one holding the knife against his throat herself.
Chelsea Cain has written another suspenseful and riveting thriller with many twists and turns. Evil at Heart is a bit more gruesome than her last two novels because the way the victims are killed are told in great detail. This time Archie is a bit more pathetic. He has lost everything, from his wife to his job, as well as the person he thought he was. He comes across a bit too weak and stupid. I used to hold Archie in high regard even though he was obsessed with Gretchen. But because the dynamics of their relationship changed in Heartsick, I lost a bit of respect for him. I actually feel pity for this man and I am at the point where I've begun to question why Gretchen is obsessed with Archie as he is with her. Gretchen likes to prey on weak men. Archie seems very weak and I believe he didn't he may have been this way from the start.
Gretchen is always an interesting character to read. She is a very masterful character who brings forth a great deal of confusion. Gretchen's "screen time" is very slim. Just by the characters and public keeping her first and foremost, she comes alive. This is so very surprising because even though Grechen doesn't make many appearances, she is the most important part of Evil at Heart.
The final showdown, yet again between Archie and Gretchen, will have you a scratching your head. What Archie goes through to find Gretchen or the killer responsible for the copy cat Beauty Killings gets a bit ridiculous. How much more suffering is Archie going to go through for the sins of his past? I'm surprised he wasn't in a vegetative coma by the amount of abuse his body goes through. Gretchen always comes out smelling like roses. Everything rolls off her back and we still don't know her motivation for things and why she has such strong feelings for Archie. What is about Archie that makes him stand out from all the rest of her victims? I think it's about time Chelsea gives us some insight on what makes Gretchen tick.
Overall, Evil at Heart is a fast read that many readers will enjoy. Things are left in such a way that things are not over between Archie and Gretchen and I do believe Chelsea has a few more tricks up her sleeves. These tricks may come as a surprise because she may have a new centralized story where Archie and Gretchen may finally become supporting characters instead of being the main ones.
I know if Chelsea were to write another book, with or without Archie and Gretchen, I will be there to read it.
While the story moves along, drawing the reader to find out what happens to this strange relationship, the concept--which was quite a stretch to begin with--is getting old. Serial killers are not that much smarter (and certainly not that much more beautiful) than anyone else. Just twisted. To make the story work, Cain has to keep upping the smarts of her killer, while increasing the williongness of the cop to be taken in (yet again).
Definitely do NOT pick this up if you haven't read the first two. If you have, then this is worth the time for a continuation of the story. While Cain leaves the door open for a fourth, I hope she resistas the impulse.