Saturday, July 21, 2012

Evil at Heart # 3 - Chelsea Cain


 Evil at Heart # 3 - Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan
Pages: 345
Published: 2009 by Macmillan
Genre: Crime/ Thriller
Format: Paperback
Acquired: Local Library
Date Finished: July 22nd 2012

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.

Thoughts/ Review:

By now I am pretty sure anyone who knows me, knows that I have fallen head over heels for Chelsea Cain and her Gretchen Lowell series. So it is no damn surprise that I had to pick up the third and the fourth installment at my local library [and order them online for my own collection] as soon as I could. And yet while I am still uncertain about why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous installments I admit that I am still a fan and will continue reading the series till the end.

Sweet Evil left with a cliffhanger of sorts and Evil at Heart opened with Archie being inside a rehabilitation clinic, but we don’t know it just yet. Archie is a constant source of torture to himself, the relating characters and to the readers- he never seems to get a break and is always being lured into situations both because of his seated need to catch Gretchen and to understand why she did what she did to him. It’s been hashed out and explored through the series and stands still pretty much through the whole novel until the ending.

Was it the lack of Gretchen, the slow pace or the twist that I never saw coming that made the book still a fantastic read, but nothing that really grabbed my attention and made me hooked like the others have? Or was it that the book felt like more of a transition novel? Written to shock, thrill and even torment the reader and yet not really getting to the nitty gritty in my opinion.

What? Those who have read the book might say – and I agree I keep asking myself the same question. For sure the intensity of the novel was a heart jerker, but it didn’t really catch my breath and yes it was gruesome and in the beginning and late near the end I was flipping pages faster than a burger joint does patties, but all the same I just wasn’t digging the book like I wanted to.

Maybe I am one of those readers who has one of the most morbid fascinations of the relationships that stem from deeply traumatic experiences. Those fed with near death experiences and torture that somehow cross the lines beyond perversion and into sexual attraction and dominance. But the only exciting part of the story was the understanding and progression that despite not being alone anymore being the only survivor [or is he?]Their relationship dynamic has twisted and contorted into something even more deeply tragic and yet something I can totally relate to. Their relationship, whatever happens affects everyone and no one is safe from either of them. And I am holding out for that.

I did however enjoy the cult aspect that Cain interwove into the already tangled web. It is something that has always fascinated me, and there were times when I had to close the book and really think about society and how morbid we all really are and how much of us are to blame [or not to] for the way people act and choose to live their lives. Still, I felt like it could have gone deeper than ‘Run Gretchen’ t-shirts and countdown key rings and really brought upon a larger sense of the cult instead of just a small select group.

Beyond my pickiness, if you’re still reading this series or thinking about picking up this book then I do suggest that you continue. I certainly will be. If nothing else it’s made me even more interested in finding out how far Chelsea Cain can go with the story. I am waiting to see what is to come and I long for that feeling, the one like nothing else in the world when I am hungry for more and deeply in love.

I am giving this: 
3.5 bloodshot eyeballs


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