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Heart Sick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  29,086 Ratings  ·  2,472 Reviews
He thinks he sees a flash of emotion in her eyes. Sympathy? Then it's gone. 'Whatever you think this is going to be like,' she whispers, 'it's going to be worse.'

When beautiful serial killer Gretchen Lowell captured her last victim - the very man in charge of hunting her down - she quickly established who was really in control of the investigation. So why, after 10 days of
Paperback, 359 pages
Published March 9th 2007 by Macmillan (first published January 1st 2007)
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Layla Torres I have only read Heartsick, but it mentions very vaguely why she was called the Beauty Killer. If I remember correctly, it was either the way she…moreI have only read Heartsick, but it mentions very vaguely why she was called the Beauty Killer. If I remember correctly, it was either the way she killed them was done very nicely, or "beautifully," or the people she killed were attractive. I believe it it the former, though. But it's definitely strange and a coincidence that she just so happened to be a beauty herself. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Mary Beth
Jun 26, 2016 Mary Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I found a new author, Chelsea Cain. She writes so well. This book is definately different than other mysteries. The characters are very well developed. I was not expecting the outcome of what the book was about. This surely isn't for the faint of heart. It has to do with serial killers.

Gretchen Lowell is a killer. She tortures her victims then kills them. She also has victims killing others, she had several of them.

Archie Sheridan becomes one of her victims. She tortures him for t
Oct 01, 2007 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of well-written thrillers.
Serial killer stories are a dime a dozen but Chelsea Cain's HeartSick is a cut above the rest (no pun intended). Not only is this novel a real page turner, but it's also very well-written with characters you believe in and sympathize with, even when they're doing things you suspect are definitely not in their best interests.

The book opens with Detective Archie Sheridan's moments-too-late realization that he's fallen into the clutches of a serial killer, the beautiful, sociopathic Gretchen Low
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

A Guilty 5 Stars

I enjoyed Heartsick as much as any thriller I have read in a few years. The main character was damaged and broken but managed to be effective and rational. The counterpoint was the jailed serial killer Gretchen who was pulling on some psychological and mental strings in Archie's mind and soul. I found it to be engaging, entertaining and chilling. That said, there are issues with novel. The "holier than thou" reviewer in me want to give this fo
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
Jul 23, 2014 JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust by: Angie **loves angst**
*****3.5 " BITCH IS CRAY-CRAY" STARS****

"I want them to know that I'm hurting you.
I want them to know that and not be able to find you.
And then I want to kill you."


...I fucking loved your serial killer ass. Okay, why am I talking to a fictional character?... Whatever !.. Gretchen is psychotic......Psychotically entertaining. UNFORTUNATELY there wasn't enough of Gretchen in the story.. Wait, I'm lying. There are a lot of fucked up memories regarding her wrong doing---> THANK YOU Ar
Serial killer thrillers are a dime a dozen anymore, but this one added just enough of a twist to make it halfway interesting. It will also make you cringe slightly whenever you have to handle a bottle of drain cleaner for a while after reading.

The main mystery is pretty conventional with a quirky female reporter getting pulled into a police investigation. If that's all there was too it, then it wouldn't be worth reading.

However, the more interesting portion revolves around the relationship betwe
Jul 02, 2016 Gavin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I'm not a big reader of books in the crime genre, but I was in the mood for this sort of thing after bingeing my way through the last few seasons of Dexter on Netflix. Heartsick had one of those gripping and exciting sounding blurbs. The story never quite matched the promise of the blurb, but I did find the plot engaging and the characters the right mix of likeable and intriguing.

The main focus of this story was on two characters, though we did get multiple scenes from lesser characters along t
Geoffrey Kleinman
When I started reading Chelsea Cain's Heartsick I didn't really expect to enjoy it. Cain isn't a fantastic writer, she gets very caught up in over describing her characters, her environment and everything in between. I'm in great agreement with Stephen King who wrote in his book "On Writing" that the building of a scene in a book is collaborative and that if an author describes every detail in that scene they take away from the reader and their role in the collaboration. Cain uses description as ...more
Aug 26, 2011 Matthew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Heartsick accomplishes something that no novel to come before it has: it literally lowers the bar as to the depths publishers will sink to to publish horrible material. It is actually that bad.

While other novels before it have been guilty of wandering aimlessly (Tommyknockers) or being offensive (Darkly Dreaming Dexter), Heartsick is horrible on a far greater level: it is thinly veiled plagiarism.

Cain has managed to almost directly rip off the plot to the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris.
Oct 31, 2007 Shea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve seen reviews of this novel ranging from calling it "the thriller of the year" to "not a very suspenseful read". For me, both seemed to paradoxically be true. At it’s core, it is a decent psychological thriller centering around Detective Archie Sheridan who was captured by a female serial killer, and is forced back onto the job two years afterwards to catch another serial killer. Cain does not follow a strict chronological sequence in her storytelling, and there are two major stories at play ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was right up my alley. Loved the complex relationship between Archie, a pill-popping, damaged cop, and his former tormentor Gretchen, the beautiful serial killer who let him live at the expense of her freedom.

The sick and twisted chemistry between these two flawed characters is well done and what makes this so special. It takes Stockholm Syndrome to a whole new level (a deeply disturbing one). Susan's character was also intriguing, though her story takes a back seat to Archie's. In fact, I
Kenya Wright
I read thsi book for research on a book that I am writing... and this realy just blew me away!

I mean goodness this is just so great!! Loved it!

It did take time to get into the book...more like five chapters...but holy wow wow. . .once I got in it just blew my mind and captivated me!

I really enjoyed the concept of both serial killers...the twist..the romane...the character development was outstanding.

I'm purchasing the next book right now.
A deadly nightmare you can only pray to wake up from…

Archie Sheridan is a detective with the Portland PD. During his rookie year as a detective, eleven years ago, he’d joined the task force that had been set up to capture the serial killer known as The Beauty Killer. For years, they tried to capture the killer, who evaded them, until a beautiful woman came into the picture. She approached the task force, introduced herself as a psychologist, and baited Archie until she kidnapped him, and torture
Jan 30, 2009 Brooke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, 2009
I've heard Heartsick billed as the next Silence of the Lambs, and I think that description is deceptive. Gretchen Lowell, the beautiful serial killer that Detective Archie Sheridan visits in prison every Sunday, isn't consulting on the current case he's working on. Gretchen kidnapped and tortured Archie when he was investigating the trail of bodies she was leaving. Now he visits her once a week as she slowly reveals locations of her victims, and also because he's mentally dependent on her in a s ...more
Nov 04, 2014 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't even describe how good Heartsick was. This book was brutal, sick, twisted, crazy,and any other words you can think of along those lines but I loved every single word of it. I was entranced from the very beginning. If I didn't have to work and sleep I would have finished it in a day. I thought about it every single minute I wasn't reading it. It's that good. Do yourself a favor-READ THIS BOOK!!!
This is one of those few times where I've come away from a book feeling a bit, well, unsure. I can't say I really loved the book but equally I can't say I hated it too. For me it was more of a compelling book. What I mean is that it was like witnessing a terrible event, e.g. a car crash, you know you shouldn't be looking but you can't help yourself. Two stories running parallel to each other. On the one hand you have a female serial killer who is now incarcerated still having a relationship of s ...more
While not a fan of the police procedural, the premise of this one intrigued me, and with a rave recommendation from a friend I decided to give it a try. If this is your genre, this is one of the best books you'll read -- it's shocking, gruesome, gripping. The characters are well fleshed-out and the narrative momentum zings along. I would much rather experience this story as a movie and I'm sure it's being optioned as I write this (or will be very soon). One of my favourite films is Seven starrin ...more
I highly recommend Heartsick.

...Yeees! Oh, how i love thee. *evil grin*

My fascination with serial killers came back with Heartsick. With a woman as the serial killer made it all the more interesting. I miss watching Dexter. =(

Archie and Gretchen have a very complicated relationship. You'd think Archie doesn't want anything to do with her after she abducted, tortured, left him wanting to die, then turn herself over to the police. Chelsea Cain is playing with my emotions, because I felt something
May 25, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was wondering if I should have created a new shelf for "really creepy killers". This book was completely twisted, and Gretchen was absolutely disturbing. I'm not sure if what she did was worse, or the consequences that resulted from her actions. Namely, Archie. He was so twisted and messed up after his encounter with her. The relationship between them was also equally disturbing. I really want to know what happens next, especially after where the book left off.

The gist of the book, Gretchen Lo
Titas (Emperor)
She’ll literally steal your heart
A cop was traumatised by a ruthless serial killer who is now in jail and he will need her help to solve the new killing spread across the city.
Quite a familiar sketch right? I too was wondering about something similar to Hannibal when I started this book. But then Ms. Cain kicked the bucket over my head to say, "Nope".

Actually the set "captured murdering psychiatrist helping cop to solve cases" was so well explored in the Legacy of Lecter that it became obvious t
Jun 09, 2013 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somehow, I picked up the idea that I'd heard Great Things about this book. I was disappointed.

This book would make a nice primetime soap opera mimiseries. In some ways, it's better than many police procedural thrillers. Though I wouldn't call it a page-turner, the premise was vaguely interesting enough to make me read it.

Despite its apparent urgency--serial killer on the loose, damaged hero cop with a ticking-time-bomb pill problem--the plot moved slowly. I thought Archie Sheridan and his team s
Dec 09, 2015 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I may have found a new favorite thriller author, right up there with Michael Robotham, Harlan Coben, and Brian Freeman. Chelsea Cain is one sick, twisted woman...and I think that's her best feature. Loved HEARTSICK and had that sad, sad feeling one has when one comes to the last page of a book that was simply superb. I'll be seeking out more of her work soon.
☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎
OMG what a crazy good book. I wasn't sure what was going on but the story went from bad to worse and then good. It was a crazy ride. This book really messes with the psychological mind. Really twisted.
Emma Hontzeas
“Whatever you think this is going to be like," she whispers, "it's going to be worse.”

This surprised me alittle due to the fact on the front cover it states 'Up there in the same league as Silence of the Lambs' The main story was a little boring/slow at times, but the relationship between serial killer Gretchen Lowell and detective Archie Sheridan was interesting enough to keep me reading. This is read in different perspectives, generally Archie or Susans with a few chapters to separate the tw
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Jun 11, 2012 Anne (Booklady) Molinarolo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anne (Booklady) by: Michelle
4.5 Stars

My friend Michelle recommended this deliciously dark thriller months ago, and boy was she right with her recommendation! Chelsea Cain has created a serial killer like no other I’ve read with the exception of Tom Harris’ Hannibal Lector. Yes, he has met his match in Gretchen Lowell. She is beautiful. She manipulates. She gets under the skins of her vulnerable victims. She tortures and kills with pleasure. Only 1 out of her 200 victims has survived: Archie Sheridan. Or has he?

The former h
This one was interesting. A solid 3.5 stars and definitely interesting to read. I love the notion of a female serial killer but there was just something about this particular novel that just didn't dazzle me.

I think it really lacked a certain pizzazz that makes murder/mystery/crime/suspense novels really great. Normally I can power through these in a day, maybe two, but this one took me awhile to get into and then finish. The killer was really obvious and truth be told there wasn't a moment wit
Janie Johnson
Jan 15, 2015 Janie Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-challenge
Heartsick was a buddy read for me and I was really quite excited to read it. I love crime/mystery/thiller genre a lot. This was a good read, not spectacular, but enough to keep me interested and also interested in the rest of the series.

I really liked Archie's character. I think mostly because he was not perfect, he made mistakes, he suffered great amounts of pain, and he made bad choices because of that pain and suffering. He is involved in a twisted and sick relationship with a serial killer.
ilovebakedgoods (Teresa)
What a fucked up relationship.

"Because what could be more calming than spending quality time with a woman who repeatedly drove a nail into your chest?" Indeed...

Well, this was a really good book and to me, a unique and interesting insight into the relationship between a serial killer and the one victim she released. Except, he's not really free, is he? I'm definitely reading more of this series.
Sep 10, 2016 Tanya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feb 03, 2015 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
torture |ˈtôrCHər|
the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.

Archie Sheridan is a torture survivor. He spent ten years as a Portland, Oregon, police detective hunting for a serial killer dubbed “The Beauty Killer,” only to find that the killer was Gretchen Lowell, and that he had become her prey. She tortured him in unspeakably horrendous ways. Finally, she killed h
Kısa aralıklarla Stockholm Sendromu kitaplarına denk gelmem şaşırtıcı gerçekten. Bu kitaptaki tamamen saplantı haline geliyor hatta. Dedektifimiz Archie, peşinden 10 yıl boyunca koştuğu Gretchen Lowell isimli güzel psikopat katil tarafından kaçırılıyor ve ona 10 gün kadar bir süre işkence ettikten sonra yaşamasına izin veriyor, kendi de hapse giriyor. (ps: ikinci kitapta oradan kaçtığını öğrendim ya yakında dayanamaz okurum) Archie tabi ki tamamen mahvolmuş bir halde hastaneye kaldırılıyor. Gret ...more
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Question 3 11 Mar 23, 2016 04:46PM  
My heart is aching to read the second in the series 1 7 Feb 28, 2016 08:15PM  
Why are we, as readers, fascinated with the character of Gretchen? 32 148 Feb 02, 2016 10:43AM  
  • 14 (Taylor Jackson, #2)
  • Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett, #1)
  • The Girls He Adored
  • Fractured (Will Trent, #2)
  • The Missing (Darby McCormick #1)
  • Darling Jim
  • Now You See Me (Lacey Flint, #1)
  • Blacklands
  • The Burying Place (Jonathan Stride, #5)
  • Stranger in the Room (Keye Street #2)
  • Creep (Creep #1)
  • The Dirty Secrets Club (Jo Beckett #1)
  • After the Fire (Maeve Kerrigan #6)
  • Boneyard (Kelly Jones Mysteries, #2)
Chelsea Cain is the New York Times bestselling author of the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers Heartsick, Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice, and Let Me Go. Her next book One Kick (August, 2014) will be the first in her Kick Lannigan thriller series. Her book Heartsick was named one of the best 100 thrillers ever written by NPR, and Heartsick and Sweetheart were na ...more
More about Chelsea Cain...

Other Books in the Series

Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell (6 books)
  • Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #2)
  • Evil at Heart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #3)
  • The Night Season (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #4)
  • Kill You Twice (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #5)
  • Let Me Go (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #6)

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“Our relationship is complicated by the fact that I am emotionally retarded.” 55 likes
“Something about the way she moves through the world does not lend itself to the care of fragile objects.” 50 likes
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