Heartsick (Trade Paperback) -- signed
Throw out all your assumptions aboutthe sameness of serial-killer novels; this one breaks the mold.Yes, the notorious Gretchen Lowell is behind bars throughout the novel, and, yes, she counsels the Portland, Oregon, cop who is chasing a new sociopath, but unlike in Silence of the Lambs, Archie Sheridan, Cain's detective hero, was one of Lowell's victims.
So two plotlines unfold alternately, each feeding the other: the backstory of what Lowell did to Sheridan, and the real-time account of Sheridan's search for a new serial killer who is preying on teenage girls from Portland's high schools. The plots are thickened by costar Susan Ward, a pink-haired, punky reporter, and by Sheridan's addiction to prescription drugs and his unbreakable emotional attachment to Lowell, his torturer and savior.
Cain never misses a beat here, turning the psychological screws ever tighter for both Sheridan and Ward while drawing us deep into the nightmare that lives inside Gretchen Lowell's head. Sheridan will remind thriller fans of Ridley Pearson's Lou Boldt, and Cains use of Portland as a setting contrasting the charm of the city against the horror of the crimes echoes Pearson's similar use of Seattle. But Heartsick is in no way derivative. This could well be the thriller of the year. Starred Review. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2007, American Library Association.)