Friday, 16 October 2009

CRIME FICTION REVIEW: Evil At Heart (Gretchen Lowell 3) - Chelsea Cain


Since serial killer Gretchen Lowell went on the run, following Detective Archie Sheridan's latest near-fatal encounter with her, the city of Portland has descended into Beauty Killer hysteria. Even fan sites have sprung up online, where admirers of Gretchen can congregate to discuss their heroine. When a spleen is discovered at a local rest stop, Detective Henry Sobol is at first sceptical it is Gretchen's work. It is only when he sees the rest stop's wall - covered in hundreds of tiny red hearts that Henry realises its time to contact Archie ...Archie Sheridan has spent the last few month's in the city's psychiatric hospital, battling with his addiction to painkillers and his strange obsession with the woman who tortured him. But soon he, along with the Beauty Killer taskforce and journalist Susan Ward, find themselves investigating a new spate of killings - when bodies start to turn up at local beauty spots, their eye-balls removed. Could this be the work of a copy-cat? Or has Gretchen really returned? One thing is certain, whoever is behind these brutal murders, they will do whatever it takes to get to Archie.


What might come as a bit of a surprise was that I was introduced to Gretchen by Chelsea’s US publishers, not that we met face to face (which considering that she’s perhaps one of the quirkiest serial killers out there is perhaps a good thing. LOL) but it did rouse my curiosity enough to give the book a go. What did get to me slightly was that it was the third book in the series and as such did leave me wondering how much I’d missed, would I be able to pick it up and enjoy it or would I just be letting myself in for a world of hurt with the confusion of having missed the rest.

What unfurled was a great introduction to the series for someone who’s unitiated as the principle named character only appears briefly allowing the reader to get into more background with the other cast members. It works extremely well, it’s a fascinating trip into the world of an unusual mind and the author not only brings this across well but gives you enough of twist to keep you glued. Add to the mix a character recovering from mental as well as physical trauma who’s forced back into a world he may not be ready for and it’s a real humdinger of a novel. Great stuff and I’ll shortly be ordering the other books in the series to get the full works and treatment according to Dr Lowell.

1 comment:

Michelle Muto said...

Excellent timing! A friend loaned me Heartsick, which I think is the first in this series.

It's pretty good so far.