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HeartSick by Chelsea Cain

Book Review – Heartsick

May 21, 2019
HeartSick Book Cover
HeartSick

So I went back in my inventory and pulled my favorite book for this week’s review, Heartsick! I’ve been super busy, and ACTUALLY writing this week, so I haven’t been reading as much as normal. I thought you guys would love to know my favorite book anyway so here we have it: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. I have done a kind of review on this series in the past but not on the specific books themselves. My mom actually just bought this book at the Library Book Sale that we went to the other week, which is ironically where I purchased my first copy of it as well. I’ll let you know how she feels about it the next time I talk to her.

Goodreads Synopsis – 

Damaged Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer, but in the end she was the one who caught him. Two years ago, Gretchen kidnapped Archie and tortured him for ten days, but instead of killing him, she mysteriously decided to let him go. She turned herself in, and now Gretchen has been locked away for the rest of her life, while Archie is in a prison of another kind—addicted to pain pills, unable to return to his old life, powerless to get those ten horrific days off his mind. Archie’s a different person, his estranged wife says, and he knows she’s right. He continues to visit Gretchen in prison once a week, saying that only he can get her to confess as to the whereabouts of more of her victims, but even he knows the truth—he can’t stay away.


When another killer begins snatching teenage girls off the streets of Portland, Archie has to pull himself together enough to lead the new task force investigating the murders. A hungry young newspaper reporter, Susan Ward, begins profiling Archie and the investigation, which sparks a deadly game between Archie, Susan, the new killer, and even Gretchen. They need to catch a killer, and maybe somehow then Archie can free himself from Gretchen, once and for all. Either way, Heartsick makes for one of the most extraordinary suspense debuts in recent memory. (Source)

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

What Drew Me In – 

So it took me awhile to start this book. Nothing about the hardcover cover really spoke to me besides that initial first purchase. I didn’t read the inside cover or anything about it before I even started it. It’s so silly because if I had known anything about it, it would have been the first book I read after the sale all those years ago.  I did this with a T.V. show one time. Netflix kept suggesting “The Following” over and over, almost to the point of badgering. I finally watched it when I was taking a stay-cation and binged it all in one sitting. Edgar Allen Poet, Cults and serial killers – what else did I need? It was like plucked directly out of my mind. Really need to start picking up on these hints from the universe a little quicker. 

            I also really enjoy reading stories that feel similar to things I’ve written. I would 100% say I have a type. A detective like story with a killer or killers that directly interact with the protagonist. I also enjoy side stories that help you dive into the character’s backstory or their progress into their future. I know a lot of stories are under this heading as well, but I think they also need to have a certain voice to them. If you know of other stories like this, GIVE THEM TO ME. But seriously, leave their links down below.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

What I Loved About Heartsick – 

I have read this book approximately 500 times, if that gives you any idea of how much I love this book. I adore the storyline, where the story actually takes place and the way she describes the crime scenes. But I think my very favorite part of this book and series is the characters. They are some of my favorite characters that I’ve ever fallen in love with. Even the supporting characters that only get a little bit of the story are well written and have great importance in the main characters lives. You can’t have Archie without Henry, the lovable, masculine, sometimes-terrifying “sidekick.”

Archie Sheridan

I honestly am surprised at how much I like Archie. That may sound rude but I find that most of the cop characters or detective characters that I enjoy the most tend to be female. I just find that they are better written – I have a theory – that women (at least according to media and the like) showing emotion is more acceptable than men. And a character is nothing without emotion. So sometimes I find that male characters aren’t always written with enough emotion. I think Archie comes off as fucked up, complex, intuitive and self-reflective without losing an ounce of masculinity. 

Susan Ward

The pixie-esque, manic dream girl that is Susan Ward reminds me more of myself than I’m honestly comfortable with. I feel like she’s probably the most relatable character in the whole series. I wonder if the author put a lot of herself into Susan. You can tell she doesn’t always think every decision through. And some decisions are directly impacted by previous mistakes she’s made. I find myself writing character’s that come close to Susan, I think mostly because they tend to have similar traits to myself. But none of them have that quirky-ness that is Susan Ward.

And last but surely not least – 

Gretchen Lowell

This BITCH. But seriously, she is the perfect serial killer in my mind. Well, you know what I mean. She’s ruthless, beautiful, brilliant, and her life still seems like a huge mystery to me. I love that her backstory leaves me craving more. Seriously, I need more books!  I think that sometimes her maliciousness isn’t always evident; it can sometimes come off as clinical. But then she also has a caring side that I actually believe was masked as cunning but deep down showed a different part of her. That could be bullshit but I don’t think so.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

What I Didn’t Love About Heartsick – 

This doesn’t deal with this book directly, but as the series overall. There were a couple of times with the continuity where I thought they had mentioned some small detail differently. At the time I’m writing this I can’t remember specifics, and I think there was just one or two things that seemed off. Obviously nothing that impacted the storylines in massive ways, just maybe someone that as read them religiously might notice. I think that writing a series is probably very hard and that I want to do this, but would be worried about making that mistake as well.

Why I Would Recommend Heartsick – 

Clearly at this point I may be biased because I’ve lived in this world for so long. But if it’s a book that I would recommend to my mother, then I’d recommend it to anyone. I’m passionate about mystery / crime / suspense / thriller type books and this book hits a lot of those categories for me. I also think that when you have someone, like I do with my mom, that gets as hyped up about a book it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I hope she loves the book as much as I did. (No pressure, ha.)

About the Author

Chelsea Cain is the New York Times bestselling author of the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers HeartsickSweetheartEvil at HeartThe Night SeasonKill You Twice, and Let Me Go. Her next book One Kick (August, 2014) will be the first in her Kick Lannigan thriller series.  Heartsick was named one of the best 100 thrillers ever written by NPR, and Heartsick and Sweetheart were named among Stephen King’s Top Ten Books of the Year. Her books have been featured on HBO’s True Blood and on ABC’s Castle. Cain lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter.

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If you love this review – you can find more of my reviews here! Let me know in the comments below if you loved this book or just to connect.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
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