Friday, November 13, 2009

So There Were People Trying to Kill Me in My Sleep...

I finished Chelsea Cain's newest serial killer thriller in the middle of the night a couple of days ago. Which meant that I then had to go to sleep directly after reading it... Here the story gets a little scary, but let me assure you that it was just a dream. It was only a dream. However, during said dream, I will admit to being totally freaked out that a female psychopath wanted to cut out my heart and carve on my skin. If this sounds like nothing you're interested in, you should skip Evil at Heart. Here's a little taste of Cain's style, via a video from her press kit for the new novel:

Evil at Heart Book Trailer from YouTube

If a little bit if fear is welcome in your life, you should absolutely find a copy of Cain's newest novel. Prior to doing that, however, you should first find copies of both Heartsick and Sweetheart, the first two novels in this series. (**Side note: currently has all three books together for around $30 -- the first two in trade paperback and the newest in hardback. Pretty good deal!) Heartsick begins Cain's tale of police detective Archie Sheridan and his own personal Hannibal Lector, Gretchen Lowell. Sweetheart continues the story, as does Evil at Heart.

This series is groundbreaking in its risky premise: a drop-dead-gorgeous, blonde female plays the sociopath who has killed more than 200 people. Unlike "normal" serial killers (if there can be such a thing), Lowell seems to kill not for a purpose or because of a past history of abuse. Instead, she kills purely for the pleasure of the kill. She murders people as hunters kill prey, having her own brand of fun with each of them prior to their ultimate death. In a twist on Silence of the Lambs, it is Lowell who has been sent to prison and the male detective Sheridan who visits her to learn of her promised "confessions" of unsolved crimes. This is how Heartsick begins, with an examination of this twisted relationship and its affect on Sheridan's life and marriage. In Sweetheart the story continues, and Lowell ultimately escapes from her prison cell.

Evil at Heart picks up where Sweetheart left off -- Lowell is on the loose and Sheridan is a psych ward patient. The toll that the so-called Beauty Killer has taken on Sheridan's life seems almost beyond repair. Because of her beauty and cunning, Lowell has become not a monster, but a hero in the eyes of the American public. Beauty Killer t-shirts are being sold by street vendors across the country, Newsweek offers the question: "Innocent?" with her picture gracing their cover, and fan groups are popping up all over the internet. A particularly enamored group creates the website, prompting the question: who are these people and what are they capable of? Evil at Heart examines that question, along with the ever-haunted Sheridan and curious, crayon-haired journalist Susan Ward.

The drawback to Cain's spellbounding storytelling and fascinating characters is her inclusion of extreme amounts of gore. Cain details the injuries of Lowell's victims, and the result is almost unreadable. There were a couple of places in which I had to put down the book for a while or skip over particularly difficult-to-read sections. A certain amount of blood and guts is the norm for a thriller, especially one about a serial killer. But Cain takes it a step further than other authors have before. If you can stomach it, the series is truly unique and entertaining. I look forward to seeing where Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell take us in future tomes from Cain's series.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails