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Heartsick Mass Market Paperback – Jul 29 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (July 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312947151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312947156
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #150,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

McCormick delivers an uneven performance in her reading of Cain's bestselling debut thriller. Gretchen Lowell, The Beauty Killer, was one of the most prolific serial killers in history, claiming over 200 lives. Her only surviving victim was Archie Sheridan, the lead detective on the task force set up to apprehend her. Archie was tortured for days until Lowell inexplicably turned herself in. Two years later Archie is still a victim, on leave from the force, estranged from his family, addicted to pain pills and obsessively visiting Gretchen weekly. When a new killer begins murdering teenage girls, Archie is called back into action. By his side is an ambitious, pink-haired news reporter who may become her own page-one headline. The usually reliable McCormick has a rocky start with the first few chapters. Her clipped, overarticulation of each line keeps listeners at a distance instead of immersing them in the mesmerizing events taking place. However, she does improve as the story moves forward, and her rich, throaty portrayal of Gretchen Lowell is the perfect blend of predator and seductress.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It's a long way from a Nancy Drew parody (Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, 2005) to one of the most original serial-killer thrillers to appear in several years, but Cain makes the leap unscathed. Throw out all your assumptions about the sameness of serial-killer novels; this one breaks the mold. Yes, the notorious Gretchen Lowell is behind bars throughout the novel (a la Hannibal Lecter), and, yes, she counsels the Portland, Oregon, cop who is chasing a new sociopath, but unlike in Silence of the Lambs, Archie Sheridan, Cain's detective hero, was one of Lowell's victims. (After kidnapping and killing more than 200 people, Lowell captured and tortured Sheridan, then inexplicably let him live.) So two plotlines unfold alternately, each feeding the other: the grisly backstory of what Lowell did to Sheridan ("Whatever you think this is going to be like," she whispers, "it's going to be worse"), and the real-time account of Sheridan's search for a new serial killer who is preying on teenage girls from Portland's high schools. The plots are thickened by costar Susan Ward, a pink-haired, punky reporter, and by Sheridan's addiction to prescription drugs—and his unbreakable emotional attachment to Lowell, his torturer and savior. Cain never misses a beat here, turning the psychological screws ever tighter for both Sheridan and Ward while drawing us deep into the nightmare that lives inside Gretchen Lowell's head. Sheridan will remind thriller fans of Ridley Pearson's Lou Boldt, and Cain's use of Portland as a setting—contrasting the charm of the city against the horror of the crimes—echoes Pearson's similar use of Seattle. But Heartsick is in no way deriviative. This could well be the thriller of the year. Ott, Bill --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Archie Sheridan is a detective with the Portland PD. During his rookie year as a detective, eleven years ago, he'd joined the task force that had been set up to capture the serial killer known as The Beauty Killer. For years, they tried to capture the killer, who evaded them, until a beautiful woman came into the picture. She approached the task force, introduced herself as a psychologist, and baited Archie until she kidnapped him, and tortured him. She kills Archie, but, unlike her previous victims, she brought him back, dialed 9-1-1 and turned herself in. And yet, she's not done torturing Archie, and he knows it.

Two years later, divorced from his wife, refusing to see his kids and addicted to prescription drugs, Archie is asked to head a new task force for a new serial killer, one who kidnaps teenage girls, strangles them, rapes them, douses them with bleach and dumps them in the river. With barely any clues or leads, they are on the hunt for the After School Strangler.

Meanwhile, Susan Ward, feature writer for the Herald, is assigned to follow Archie and write a feature about him. Dogging his heels, Susan sees things most reporters wouldn't unless they were to stumble upon a body themselves. For Susan, the After School Strangler hits close to home, for, years before, she'd actually gone to one of the murdered teenagers.

And all the while, hunting for a new serial killer, Archie continues his visits with Gretchen in prison every Sunday. The reason? Supposedly because she will give up a body of one of her victims; name and location of burial, but it has to be Archie. Does he go simply for closer to her victims families, or is there something more? Will they catch the After School Strangler before the fourth victim is found dead?

Incredible novel!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book 1 in the Archie and Gretchen series

The story explores what make up a psychopath and the relationship between a serial killer and his/her victims. "Heart Sick" is a gruesome tale of torture and manipulation, a fiction depicting a twisted and creepy serial killer.

Detective Archie Sheridan (main character) has spent ten years on a task force hunting a beautiful serial killer named Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen eventually turned the table and the hunter became the hunted. She lured him into a trap, tortured him for several days and contrary to her M.O. she mysteriously sets him free, leaving him haunted in many ways by the experience for the rest of his life.

The story picks up two years later with Gretchen in prison and Archie recently off medical leave and returned to duty. Still on strong medication he quickly finds himself deeply involved in another case of multiple abductions and murders. Many teenage girls have mysteriously gone missing in the Oregon area.

During this period, Detective Archie Sheridan's experiences attract the attention of the press and Susan Ward, a young eccentric journalist, is assigned the task of writing his story. In her research, she tags along and records every move he makes but unknown to her, this action leads her straight into the serial killer's web...

The gruesome torture Archie endured at the hands of Gretchen is rehashed in flashback sequences and the gory details create a graphic and violent atmosphere at times. Archie, one of the main characters, is overshadowed by the strong characterisation of Gretchen, a beautiful serial killer. The story only comes alive when she appears and dims when she is off stage.
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Format: Hardcover
What I like about it is there's actually a female serial killer this time and she acts close to Hannibal Lecter with some minor differences. It sure is nice to see an evil female part though. It's a refreshing sight instead of having females always being portrayed as victims. The plot got better and better through each chapter and it just seemed as if the book went by really quickly - perhaps because I was just too engrossed in the book. You get two different stories here in this book. You have the current case Archie is on, then you also have chapters in between where they are flashbacks of Archie when he was being held captive by Gretchen. They were gruesome and rather hard to swallow but it added a lot of depth into Archie's character and explains to you why he is how he is. I thought that was pretty well done as it's a great way of explaining his character and his behavior. Gretchen made a wonderful villain. Manipulative, cunning, cruel, sadistic, all in one very attractive package it was perfectly done and even in prison she still continues to fiddle with her puppet strings.

It wasn't blatantly obvious who the culprit was behind the murders of the teenage girls, which was good, and it kept you guessing. What I liked was it wasn't until the last minute when you actually found out who it was and by that time it was cleverly done that you wish you could have seen it in the first place. There were a few twists and turns with the final twist happening between Gretchen and Archie. I thought that was great and it left me asking for more.

No doubt there will be sequels and I see this as a promising series. I'm left wanting to know what's going to happen in the next book. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.
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