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Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #2)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  14,642 Ratings  ·  1,213 Reviews
Portland detective Archie Sheridan, the former head of the Beauty Killer Task Force, hunted Gretchen Lowell for years before she kidnapped him, tortured him, and then let him go. Now that she is behind bars, Archie is finally piecing his life back together. He's returned home to his ex-wife and their two children. But no matter how hard Archie tries, he just can't stop thi ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published 2008)
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Nov 04, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2008
Chelsea Cain's follow-up to her "Heartsick" reunites readers with Susan Ward, Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell for a fast-paced story that works better if you just switch off your disbelief and just go with the story.

Picking up a few months after the end of "Heartsick," Archie has stopped visiting Gretchen, but remains obsessed with her. He's in the midst of trying to solve a case involving a body in a local park. Susan is hot on the trail of a story involving a local Senator wh
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

Another Stunning Thriller - 5 Stars

I rarely have the sense that a novel is truly "thrilling". Despite claims that a story will keep me on the edge of my seat, I rarely experience the phenomenon. Sweetheart is one of the few books that truly left me feeling "thrilled". It is exciting, twisting and a down right good time.

Plot Outline

The lead character, Archie, is working toward a sense of normalcy. He has returned to live with his family, he no longer sees o
Feb 13, 2009 Brooke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sick book, like its predecessor, which is why it took me 5 years to finally borrow this one. I again found the storyline very deranged and gruesome, and a little hard to believe. Many opportunities to end the terror presented themselves, and still the characters failed to latch onto those opportunities. Surely the reason for that was so that #3 in the series could be published, yet I am not sure I will latch onto that opportunity. Except that I do own that book, and Archie sort of fascinates me, ...more
Stephen King says about the first 2 books in series: "We've been down Hannibal Lecter Avenue many times, and these two books shouldn't work...but they do. Chalk it up to excellent writing and Cain's ferocious sense of humor. The Portland (Ore.) setting is refreshing too."

I really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to book 4. Evil and compelling female serial killer and interesting stockhold syndrome explored. Can get pretty gruesome at times, so not for the squeamish. Highly recommended
Sep 05, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I almost gave up on the series after this book. I was about half way through it, riding in a car for hours on end, and trying not to vomit from the massively damaging spiral of Archie Sheridan's psyche and Gretchen Lowell's crazy ass hold over him. And also a little bit of carsickness. But not the point.

This book is the definitive be all end all of their catastrophic relationship. It builds, it terrorizes and it comes to a head in the middle that makes you want to throw the book a
Jan 21, 2016 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book for the same reasons I loved the first.

The relationship between Gretchen and Archie is exceptionally well done. There is something about flawed characters who are aware of their flaws that is compelling. The supporting characters are also interesting.

I read quite a bit and as a result often see the plot twists coming, but Cain somehow managed to surprise me (and more than once) in this sequel to Heartsick.

The only weakness is the convergence of the background stories, which is
Jun 06, 2009 Katie(babs) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Archie and Gretchen’s relationship is disturbing and morbid, and Cain pushes it up a notch in the sequel, Sweetheart. Trying to figure out why these two are so stuck on each other is the fun in reading. They are each other nemesis, the ultimate good and evil battling over each other souls. They know each other, oh so well, much like lovers, which in a way they very much are, at least in their minds. They are each other’s poison as well as breathing life into one another. You know those people wh ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Maya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
➸ Gwen de Sade
*5 shining stars*

It certainly isn't flawless but I cannot give this enthralling and crazy book any less than five stars.

I'm totally addicted to this series. Caine's characters strike all your emotions, love, hate, pity, anger, fear, surprise and sadness - how unusual! Plus: I love Archie Sheridan. He's a very interesting protagonist with a lot of flaws. He makes mistakes (aaaa lot!), wrong decisions (aaaaa looot!), but I'll always root for him, no matter what.

You wanna see how he looks like
Mar 02, 2016 Tanya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so addicted to this series. As of right now it's one of my favorites. On to the next one....
Beth (Ducky)
A couple weeks ago I was looking through the used book section at work and I came across The Night Season and it sounded SO GOOD. But then I found out it was the fourth book in a series that I hadn't heard of before let alone read or owned any of the books. So, I did what any sane person would do. I bought the whole series (minus book 2 because our store didn't have it) and started the first one right away with high hopes that it didn't suck.

And it didn't! So I finished the first book and I just
Sara Kate
May 16, 2016 Sara Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gretchen is a psyco and she is taking Archie right along with her. I'm almost scared to pick up the next book to see where this crazy story goes.
But of course I will.
Jun 02, 2010 Darcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I consider this series a guilty pleasure, why you ask??? Well it is because the relationship between Archie and Gretchen. It is so bad in so many ways and in this book we find out they why behind it. Gretchen is soooo good at being the bad guy and it is a little disconcerting to have the bad guy a woman and such an evil one at that.

I also find Susan and Archie's relationship to be interesting too, Susan with her daddy issue's and Archie with eyes only for Gretchen, it is an odd sort of love tri
Kenya Wright
Okay. FIRST--- I DNF'd this book!

Why did I still give it four stars?

Because its good. It just scares the shit out of me.

I stopped at 75% and put the storm shutters on the outside of my kid's windows, tested out my house alarm, and put a bad next to my bed....

ummmmmm...the love affair is morbid and disturbing which is also scares the crap out of me too.

WOW! I can't finish the series because I'm a big wuss!
May 26, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was even creepier than the first, just because of the progression of a certain relationship. It just weirds me out on so many different levels. But it's like a car accident, I can't take my eyes away even though I know I shouldn't be looking. The murders, and Susan's side of the story fall on the back burner for me. I'm reading these books primarily for Archie and Gretchen, and that's more than enough entertainment to keep me reading them. Should I feel guilty for liking it? lol.
Apr 02, 2009 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
I liked this book, not as well as the first one, Heartsick. I had some issues with the relationship between Gretchen and Archie, Susan could drop out of the next book and it would not bother me at all! All in all - it was a good read. I wonder what surprises #3 has in store for us. I hope that we will find out what it is that makes Gretchen who she is.
Patrick O'Neil
Mar 17, 2016 Patrick O'Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally sick shit. And I mean that in a good way. Cain continues the Serial Killer romancing the Cop story and get's even more deranged. Although there were little bits to the plot that I just can't buy, I was always entertained.
Dec 01, 2008 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't actually know exactly why I bothered to read this, given my opinion on 'Heartsick' -- the first of the Gretchen Lowell books. In many ways, this second book is even sillier -- more implausible and even a bit boring.
Alicia Siekierski
This story is so fucked up and I love that about it. The characters are incredible and the only reason I gave it 3 stars is because it was a bit predictable
Rebecca McNutt
Sweetheart was such a powerful and evocative crime novel, with characters who seem like real people and an excellent use of imagery.
Jun 14, 2010 Kasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To me this was Cain's best book to date, I have just finished book three and can safely say that the second part is intense, amazing and irresistible, definitely her best effort yet. After surviving his capture by a serial killer, one who also happened to be his object of wanton desires and fantasies, Archie is determined to solve all the open cases with Gretchen's help. The only problem is his secret desire and hunger for being near her. His marriage is in shambles and his psyche is just as sha ...more
Ramsey Hootman
Sep 10, 2016 Ramsey Hootman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly can't remember the last time I ventured to read a straight up commercial thriller, but someone recommended this book to me and I am SOOO glad they did. Archie and Gretchen are just my kind of twisted.

The writing is terse and skillful, with just the right amount of detail in all the right places and some tongue-in-cheek humor thrown into the mix. I absolutely love Archie's character, and the way Cain portrays him is just perfect. He's numb, he's conflicted, he's withdrawn from life...
I haven't read a book so voraciously in years. Where the first book, Heartsick was intriguing and mysterious, Sweetheart was action-packed and lived up to its "thriller" genre. The plot continued forward with Gretchen, the twisted yet charismatic serial killer, and her relationship with Archie, her victim of choice. But the interesting thing is, he's not really a victim. Because of his time in captivity with her, Archie is drawn to Gretchen just as much as she is to him. And that's really wh ...more
There's a loose plot thread dangling at the end of Heartsick, where Susan has been trying to track down a young woman she believes was the victim of statutory rape by a United States Senator when she was 14. At the beginning of the sequel, she's on the verge of running with that story when the senator dies in a suspicious car accident... meanwhile, three bodies have been discovered in a park, which means Archie Sheridan has his serial killer task force up and running again.

It's a perfect time fo
Aug 20, 2016 Pete rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sweetheart is book 2 in the Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain .

Following HeartSick, and I mean SICK! , I wanted to find out if Archie, the detective seeking out Gretchen would somehow get beyond his emotional attachment to Gretchen. Not Happening!

While a spell binding story might be exciting to some, it is beyond my ability to continue. a glass stirring rod inserted into the urethra and then crushed?!?! Its truly too sick for me.

I’ll pass on the rest of this series

Dec 04, 2008 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dexter, those wanting some meat in their serial killer books
Shelves: brain_candy, horror
Chelsea Cain obviously enjoys her devious characters and hard-core serial killers. This one isn't quite as good as the first, only because it came second and I sort of knew what to expect. If the series continues, I'll be sure to pick the next one up because it's a quick flight of fancy.

I think the entire book was made better by her acknowledgments at the end, where she thanks her elementary school librarian and tells her friends that she'll name corpses after them. Cute.
Oct 07, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery

This was between 3 and 4 stars. This is the third book, I've read in this series and I like the series, even though there is definite cringing going on.

Her stories are creative. There are twists and turns and the pace moves right along. I'm always pulled in. The violence wasn't as bad in this one as it has been in the two others, but it was still a little dark. Chelsea Cain does the evil vibe well.
Kat Williams
Dec 08, 2015 Kat Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, chilling
This book is guaranteed to give you shivers of both horror and pleasure. Cain has done it again and this time she's taken a deeper dive into the kinky and downright messed up relationship between Archie and Gretchen. I don't know how to review this without spoiling it, but suffice it to say that Gretchen/Archie fans will NOT be disappointed. ;)
Sep 06, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The thrilling return of Gretchen Lowell. The connection between Archie and Gretchen makes this series exciting and spell binding. Once you start reading you just can't stop. A female serial killer need I say more. Add this series to your list you won't regret it.
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Doubts 5 31 Mar 14, 2014 08:36AM  
Bookworm Buddies: Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, & The night Season 24 29 Apr 05, 2013 03:18PM  
  • So Close the Hand of Death (Taylor Jackson, #6)
  • The Darker Side (Smoky Barrett, #3)
  • Stripped (Jonathan Stride, #2)
  • Undone (Will Trent, #3)
  • Sacrificial Muse (Sabrina Vaughn #2)
  • The Girls He Adored
  • Body Count (Sophie Anderson,  #1)
  • Play Dead (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #4)
  • The Surrogate (Brennan & Esposito, #1)
  • Exposed (Maggie O'Dell, #6)
  • Breakneck (Kitt Lundgren, #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)
  • Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #1)
  • 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)

Share This Book

“Debbie often talked about Gretchen as if she was his mistress. But to Archie it sometimes felt like the other way around. As if, by moving back in with his ex-wife, he was cheating on Gretchen.
That was probably worthy of bringing up in therapy”
“I like to think of you not being able to end your suffering,' she said.
'I like to think of you not being able to satisfy your blood-lust,' he said.”
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