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Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain
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Evil at Heart (edition 2010)

by Chelsea Cain

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6859813,926 (3.72)48
Member:BookSmart23
Title:Evil at Heart
Authors:Chelsea Cain
Info:Minotaur Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

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English (93)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (97)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Another great story in this series! This one takes place about 2 months after the last. Serial killer Gretchen is still on the loose, Archie is in detox, and a Beauty Killer fan club is causing a whole lotta trouble! Lots of eyeballs in this one - not for the squeamish! I can't wait for book #4! I only have one question... what color will Susan's hair be in the next one? :-) ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 22, 2016 |
Not nearly as good as the first book in the series, but an interesting take on the dynamic between two of the main characters. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
This is the 3rd instalment in the (female serial killer) Gretchen and (investigator) Archie Sheridan series and Chelsea Cain did it again, what a thrill. When body parts start showing up around Portland along with Gretchen's trademark, many many little hearts drawn at the crime scenes, Archie checks himself out of the hospital and goes after Gretchen with Henry and reporter Susan by his side. Archie and Henry believe it's Gretchen sending them a message. But Susan has made contact with someone from a Gretchen Lowell fan group (yes fan group). Apparently Gretchen is some kind of a celebrity by now, there are bus tours and there is even a Beauty Killer manicure. It seems sick and in the meantime something that could really happen. Now is it really Gretchen slicing and dicing up victims or is there a fan acting as a copycat serial killer? Cain keeps us guessing what is going on. She really surprises the reader and keeps us guessing even some more in the end about what is true or not.. I love Cain’s sick and twisted mind, not for the faint at heart though because again some very graphic scenes but I’m already wondering what n° 4 Night Season will bring us. ( )
  Ingstje | Jan 18, 2016 |

Cross-posted to Knite Writes

Plot

So, Gretchen Lowell is still at large, and the world has gone crazy over it — literally. She’s basically become a celebrity, with people going on tours to see her old crime scenes, getting manicures called “Beauty Killers,” and putting her face on fashion magazines because she’s just that pretty.

But when new bodies start appearing at Gretchen’s old haunts, Archie and Susan get wrapped up in yet another case together.

After his suicide attempt in Sweetheart, Archie has basically given up solving crimes and admitted himself to a psych ward that he doesn’t seem to want to leave. Thankfully, being away from crime (and Gretchen) has done him some good, and he’s not nearly as psychologically screwed up as he was in the last couple books. Of course, his peace can’t really last. This is a series about a serial killer, after all.

Henry finds himself needing Archie when new gruesome crime scenes start popping up everywhere, bearing Gretchen’s signature hearts. Meanwhile, Susan, who’s been investigating the creepy pop culture phenomenon Gretchen has inadvertently created, starts getting messages from a weird Gretchen fan club that lead her to discovering a body.

Once all the new crimes are linked, Susan and Archie find themselves working together again. Archie uses Susan to help him investigate away from Henry’s prying eye — technically, Archie is a civilian until he’s no long a psych patient. Naturally, this leads to Susan and Archie getting wrapped up in more than they can handle, and Archie ends up Tasered, unconscious, and kidnapped by that creepy Gretchen fan club.

Turns out said fan club is actually headed by the serial killer of this book, who’s obsessed with Gretchen.

Susan, in a moment of weakness and cat-killing curiosity, finds a cell phone that Gretchen slipped Archie in the psych ward, which she’s been using to communicate with him. Susan, panicked, texts Gretchen to tell her that Archie is in trouble.

Archie wakes up…

You know, I’m going to skip the last half of the book because it gets…really weird.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Anyway, they catch Gretchen again at the end of this book — and Archie, despite having ample opportunity, doesn’t kill her. When will he learn?

Next book, please.

___


My Take

Okay, the storyline of this book was weird as hell. I don’t even really want to talk about it because I’m not sure what to say. It was just…odd. I finished this book unsure of what I had read and spent a significant amount of time contemplating it before I gave up trying to figure out what on Earth inspired Cain to write this. I mean, it fit with the disturbing serial killer theme. But other than that…yeah, I don’t know.

It also felt like this one was just a setup to catch Gretchen again as opposed having a lot of substance on its own. It does set up some new recurring characters that are fairly important for the subsequent books, but of course, I didn’t know that when I actually reading this. I was left very lost and confused.

It was nice to see that Archie has somewhat reasonably recovered from his suicidal breakdown in the previous book, and I did find his developing paranoia over Gretchen’s influence in his life to be pretty believable. His development is well handled in this installment.

Gretchen is in the periphery of this book a lot, which I found a very interesting tactic. Instead of being in the spotlight literally, the idea of her is in the spotlight. Society has used Gretchen’s infamy to integrate her into pop culture, which is a disturbing enough concept by itself, but it’s made even more disturbing by the fact that she’s almost idolized. She’s a beautiful killer, and that’s rare, so people are fascinated by her. Cain presents a reasonably fair critique of society using Gretchen as a mode of interest and intrigue.

However, I will say she took it over the top at times. Like in the previous book, there were several things I had a hard time buying into. Moderation and balance, like I mentioned last time, are key.

____

Writing

Go see my review of Heartsick for a critique of Cain’s writing style. It hasn’t changed a whole lot.

____

Is It Worth Reading?

Well…it’s weird as hell, but maybe that’s your thing. And I don’t see much of a point in not reading this one if you liked the first two. Just be prepared for the general strangeness.

____

Rating

2.5/5 ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Started September 5th, 2013.
How good this series proofs to be will show wether I buy and read the next 3 books after finishing off this one or wether I will take a break ( which, granted, would be better ) and read a different writer.
Best book so far, nearly, but not quite, a 5 Star. If possible, I would rate 4.5 Stars. So, 4 Stars it is, could have had more twists.
As I wrote before, I will certainly read the other books in the series and be waiting for next installment when I have finished the available ones.
But I will take a break and read something different now. ( )
  Ingo.Lembcke | Oct 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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For Eliza Fantastic Mohan, who continues to live up to her name
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The rest stop off I-84 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River was vile, even by rest-stop standards.
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Book description
Oregon, vlak langs de I 84. In een smerig toiletgebouw vindt een nietsvermoedende tiener met hoge nood de bloederige overblijfselen van iets wat ooit leven bezat. De wand van het toilet is volgekalkt met hartjes. Het is haar handtekening, de handtekening van Gretchen Lowell. 
Sinds Gretchen erin slaagde te ontsnappen, duiken er overal lichamen op die aan haar te linken zijn. De enige die tot Gretchen door kan dringen is Archie Sheridan.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312368488, Hardcover)

Chelsea Cain’s novels featuring Portland detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell have captivated fans through two nail-biting entries, Heartsick and Sweetheart, both of them multiweek bestsellers in The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. These days, she’s more of a cause célèbre than a feared killer, thanks to sensationalist news coverage that has made her a star. Her face graces magazine covers weekly and there have been sightings of her around the world. Most shocking of all, Portland Herald reporter Susan Ward has uncovered a bizarre kind of fan club, which celebrates the number of days she’s been free.

Archie Sheridan hunted her for a decade, and after his last ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong, remains hospitalized months later. When they last spoke, they entered a détente of sorts---Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But when a new body is found accompanied by Gretchen’s trademark heart, all bets are off and Archie is forced back into action. Has the Beauty Killer returned to her gruesome ways, or has the cult surrounding her created a whole new evil?

Chelsea Cain continues to deliver heart-stopping thrills and chills in the latest entry in this dynamic bestselling series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Portland detective Archie Sheridan hunted Gretchen Lowell for a decade, and after his last ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong, remains hospitalized months later. When they last spoke, they entered a detente of sorts---Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But when a new body is found accompanied by Gretchen's trademark heart, all bets are off and Archie is forced back into action. Has the Beauty Killer returned to her gruesome ways, or has the cult surrounding her created a whole new evil?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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