Imagery brings ?heart? to series

Shelli White

Shelli WhiteJuice Columnist

Chelsea Cain, a New York Times bestselling author, started a series in 2007 about a female serial killer, the man who hunted her for 10 years, a pink haired reporter and the newest serial killer in Portland, Ore.

The series’ first book, Heartsick (2007), focuses on the introduction of each character’s personality and has a description of their lives, past and present.

Detective Archie Sheridan, head of the Beauty Killer Task Force for 10 years, was kidnapped by the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell and tortured for several days before she let him go and turned herself in. Sheridan is now addicted to several different kinds of medication and barely functional.

No one knows why Gretchen Lowel tortured Sheridan or why she turned herself in and let him live. She still has a compelling hold over Sheridan, even from behind bars.

Sheridan selected Susan Ward, a journalist with pink hair, to provide media coverage of the hunt for the newest serial killer in town. Ward is unpredictable and adds an annoying but needed outside view to the story.

In the beginning of the book, Sheridan heads the newest task force. Someone is kidnapping high school girls, sexually assaulting them and dumping their bodies. Lowell is in prison, and Sheridan is back at work for the first time since his meeting with Lowell. Ward is on the story.

Ward must deal with painful high school memories when it is discovered two of the young victims attended her high school. Sheridan must deal with the quiet looks from people he hasn’t seen since he was in the hospital.

I felt like the high school killings in Heartsick were a secondary story. All I really wanted to know about was Sheridan and Lowell. However, it all comes into perspective when everything is tied together in the end.

I found the relationship between Sheridan and Lowell to be the most interesting and captivating part of this twisted book. Lowell tortured Sheridan for several days, and Sheridan still can’t stop thinking about her. He lost his family, his friends and his way of life, but the only person he cares about is Lowell.

In Sweetheart (2008), the series’ second book, all the main players are back.

Sheridan is still working for the police department, but has made some changes in his life. When a case comes up that resembles his first Beauty Killer case, Sheridan becomes obsessed.

Lowell is still in prison. But not for long. When Lowell escapes, Ward goes under police protection, but Sheridan has other plans. Readers finally get to learn more about the hero and the villain from the books.

Once again, I felt like the case Sheridan was working on fell short in comparison to the relationship between Sheridan and Lowell. I could not wait to finish the chapters that had nothing to do with their past.

Although I thought some of her writing was inconsistent, she always used realistic imagery to convey a clear picture of what was going on.

The third installment, Evil at Heart (2009) features Lowell and the trail of blood she leaves in her wake. Still on the loose, Sheridan and Ward are on the lookout for the beautiful serial killer.

Cain is releasing another book in the series, The Night Season, available March 1. It’s definitely an easy read and relatively inexpensive. The paperback goes for $10, and the digital

e-book copy is even less.

If you’re looking for an adult thriller, this series will not disappoint.

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