Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell, #1)” as Want to Read:
Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  22,361 ratings  ·  2,016 reviews
Damaged Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer, but in the end she was the one who caught him. Two years ago, Gretchen kidnapped Archie and tortured him for ten days, but instead of killing him, she mysteriously decided to let him go. She turned herself in, and now Gretchen has been locked away for the rest
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Heartsick, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Heartsick

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
90th out of 4,578 books — 10,471 voters
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas HarrisDarkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff LindsayRed Dragon by Thomas HarrisAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton EllisThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I Like Serial Killers
7th out of 580 books — 911 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Oct 01, 2007 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
JaHy♕ Bitchy  Goddess ♥'s  everything CrAzY  ☿
Jul 23, 2014 JaHy♕ Bitchy Goddess ♥'s everything CrAzY ☿ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JaHy♕ Bitchy Goddess ♥'s everything CrAzY ☿ 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Janie Johnson
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.
kagit kiz
Gönül Yarası – Chelsea Cain

Kitabın ismi sizi yanıltmasın kendisi bir aşk romanı değil polisiye-gerilimdir, hoş kapağa bakınca hangimizin aklına aşk meşk gelir bilemem ben ilk ismini duydugumda öyle sanmıştım daha sonra arka kapak yazısını okudum ve tav oldum. Neyse.

Kitapta iki kişinin ağzından anlatılıyor olaylar biri psikopat katil Gretchen Lowell ın kaçırıp 10 gün boyunca işkence yaptığı Archie Sheridan diğeri ise gazeteci Susan Ward kendisi Archie nın isteğiyle davanın seyrine tanıklık edecek
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
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.
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.
Chelsea Cain is a NTM author and I now have a new series to glom on. Ok for those that read Ward's Fallen Angel series, know that Devina and Gretchen are soul sisters, because they are both evil incarnate.

Archie, just put on homicide right off the bat catches the biggest case of his life, he gets put on a task force tracking a prolific serial killer. Of course profiles have the profile down as older, white male...blah..blah...blah. The task force have been meeting at a shrink's house in order t
Heartsick is a riveting thriller that is not for the faint of heart. The book has flashbacks describing brutality directed towards the hero that I found to be more graphic than what I usually read. The hero, Archie Sheridan, is a man who basically views his life as having ended two years earlier when he was held and tortured for ten days by a serial killer. He is now estranged from his family, addicted to pain killers, and completely focused on his Sunday visits to the murderer who held him host ...more
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
This is a quick read because you get interested right off the bat--someone is being tortured on like the second page. I liked the fact that the author went somewhat in depth into the three main characters (Archie, Susan, and Gretchen) but didn't dwell on them for extremely long periods. A lot of times with crime thrillers it stays on the "depressed cop" or the "insane killer" for way too long and you just go crazy waiting for something to happen.

The action moves really quickly but it doesn't fe

Forgive the bags under my eyes today. Couldn't turn off the light last night until I turned the last page, and then laid there for an hour with the blankets up to my chin...unable to go to sleep...thinking every creak and groan was Gretchen coming to carve a heart in my chest & force drain cleaner down my throat!

What a GREAT debut from Chelsea Cain!! Sick, horrifying, twisted, heart-wrenching, sad, & hopeful. Many parts very uncomfortable to read, but the story is so well written
I love Chelsea Cain! She is brilliant! She brings out the characters so much in her books that it feels like they are sitting in your kitchen talking. I know them personally and will be sad when they have to go. The story is also amazing! Gretchen is pure evil and Archie is mentally messed up while Susan just doesn't know what is going on with herself.

This is a must read series!
Gretchen... Hatun sana bayıldım idolümsün yaaaaa :D
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 felt like nothin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
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
Katie Revie
HeartSick was written at a third grade level and although it was an extremely easy read it touched on some important life morals. To be quite honest, I felt like I was reading a script for an NCIS or Bluebloods episode. Many review posts on Good Reads focus on how the serial killer was a Women. I did not find that to be that interesting , but i do agree with one reader who posted, "All the characters seem very real, as well as the story, and the book reads like a movie playing out in your head b ...more
I was worried about reading this book. It was being compared to Silence of the Lambs which I felt was fascinating book. I was worried that I would be disappointed, but I definitely wasn't. I can't believe that Chelsea Cain is a new author. The pacing and the interactions between characters aren't what you normally find with a new author. I love how she has intertwined the Stockholm syndrome with a serial killer investigation. In this book, the detective isn't seeking answers about the current se ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Why are we, as readers, fascinated with the character of Gretchen? 30 124 Sep 20, 2014 11:00PM  
Can you read a book in one day? 20 107 Sep 16, 2014 07:49PM  
How to Judge GoodReads Stars 21 569 Apr 06, 2014 01:35AM  
TOPICS NOT DICUSSED 1 17 Apr 04, 2014 04:51PM  
Bookworm Buddies: Heartsick - March 5th-DONE 111 62 Mar 12, 2013 08:22PM  
  • The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett, #2)
  • All The Pretty Girls
  • Stripped (Jonathan Stride, #2)
  • The Girls He Adored
  • The Missing (Darby McCormick #1)
  • The Dirty Secrets Club (Jo Beckett #1)
  • The Stranger You Seek (Keye Street #1)
  • Monkeewrench (Monkeewrench, #1)
  • Triptych (Will Trent, #1)
  • A Perfect Evil (Maggie O'Dell, #1)
  • Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3)
  • Pretty Little Things
  • The Crucifix Killer (Robert Hunter, #1)
  • Tethered
  • The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)
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 (Gretchen Lowell, #2)
  • Evil at Heart (Gretchen Lowell #3)
  • The Night Season (Gretchen Lowell, #4)
  • Kill You Twice (Gretchen Lowell, #5)
  • Let Me Go (Gretchen Lowell, #6)
Sweetheart (Gretchen Lowell, #2) Evil at Heart (Gretchen Lowell #3) Kill You Twice (Gretchen Lowell, #5) The Night Season (Gretchen Lowell, #4) Let Me Go (Gretchen Lowell, #6)

Share This Book

“Our relationship is complicated by the fact that I am emotionally retarded.” 47 likes
“Something about the way she moves through the world does not lend itself to the care of fragile objects.” 43 likes
More quotes…