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Chelsea Cain
Adult Fiction CAIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

McCormick delivers an uneven performance in her reading of Cain's bestselling debut thriller. Gretchen Lowell, "The Beauty Killer," was one of the most prolific serial killers in history, claiming over 200 lives. Her only surviving victim was Archie Sheridan, the lead detective on the task force set up to apprehend her. Archie was tortured for days until Lowell inexplicably turned herself in. Two years later Archie is still a victim, on leave from the force, estranged from his family, addicted to pain pills and obsessively visiting Gretchen weekly. When a new killer begins murdering teenage girls, Archie is called back into action. By his side is an ambitious, pink-haired news reporter who may become her own page-one headline. The usually reliable McCormick has a rocky start with the first few chapters. Her clipped, overarticulation of each line keeps listeners at a distance instead of immersing them in the mesmerizing events taking place. However, she does improve as the story moves forward, and her rich, throaty portrayal of Gretchen Lowell is the perfect blend of predator and seductress. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's Minotaur hardcover (Reviews, July 16). (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Portland, OR, never felt drearier than it does in this thriller debut. Without a doubt, psychopathic Gretchen Lowell, a convicted serial killer, pulls all the strings from her prison cell. Just consider her current exploitation list: Archie Sheridan, the Vicodin-addicted detective whom she kidnapped and almost killed two years earlier; Susan Ward, the spunky, young newspaper features writer who's attempting to profile Sheridan; and, finally, the current serial killer, who is targeting high school girls and putting the entire city in lockdown mode. Using flashbacks and psychological tension, Cain (Confessions of a Teen Sleuth) has crafted a gory suspense piece that is absolutely impossible to put down. Sheridan's current case, a hurried analysis of local high school suspects, is almost secondary to the horror of Lowell's personality. Sheridan's suffering makes him an empathetic hero, and Susan's foolish mistakes give the novel its requisite twists. Readers may figure out the "new" killer's identity early on, but Cain never lets up on the pace. Stylistically, this is great stuff for true-crime readers and for those who enjoy Jan Burke's Irene Kelly series. Recommended for all popular collections; expect a series. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 5/1/07; a 200,000 first printing.]-Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., Fairfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Gretchen Lowell
Serial killer
Kidnapped Archie two years, tortured him and then let him go; turned herself in; serving a life sentence.

Archie Sheridan
Spent ten years tracking down Gretchen who wound up kidnapping him; spent ten days as Gretchen's captive before she let him go; addicted to pain pills; unable to return to his old self; can't forget about those ten days; visits Gretchen in prison.
Police detective

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