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Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,281 Ratings  ·  2,335 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
Kindle Edition, 335 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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!!!
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
Dec 09, 2015 Rick rated it it was amazing
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 14, 2008 Flannery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
This book is so freaking disturbing. At some points I enjoyed it a lot, but at other points I hated it. I even toyed with the idea of giving the book two stars. It gets three stars because I wanted to keep listening and I have already requested #2 from the library. Don't let the three stars deter you, I think this series is worth giving a try. The audio is pretty well done. Warning, it is crosses lines and well, is freaking disturbing!
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.
Oct 06, 2015 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime
This is the first in the Gretchen Lowell series and is an excellent start as it follows Archie Sheriden as he returns from medical leave to lead the task force in the hunt for a murderer known as the After School Killer. Unfortunately for him that's not all he has to deal with as he is still struggling with the aftermath of his time in the hands of Gretchen and her torturous desires following which he lost everything, including his freedom from her as he still visits her in jail and she still to ...more
May 09, 2015 Iris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Whatever you think this is going to be like, it's going to be worse."

This book was mindblowing. Absolutely amazing! I can't believe it took me such a long time to read.

"Heartsick" follows Archie Sheridan, a Portland Detective who had a rough couple of years. Two years prior the story, he was kidnapped by Gretchen Lowell, a serial killer. He was tortured for ten days, and then she decides to let him go and turn herself in. Now, Gretchen is in prison and Archie is addicted to painkillers. His l
I've been looking for some more good mystery/thrillers that centre around a serial killer or serial killers so I thought I would give Heartsick a go.

I felt like the first part of the book was a little bit slow going, it took me a while to get into it so I was a little slow in reading it. When I got further into the book however, I really started to enjoy it.

The characters weren't really what interested me in this book. Basically, I was interested in what had happened between Archie and Gretchen
Jean Coldwell
Feb 03, 2015 Jean Coldwell 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
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Question 3 5 Mar 23, 2016 04:46PM  
My heart is aching to read the second in the series 1 4 Feb 28, 2016 08:15PM  
Why are we, as readers, fascinated with the character of Gretchen? 32 139 Feb 02, 2016 10:43AM  
Can you read a book in one day? 19 119 Sep 16, 2014 07:49PM  
How to Judge GoodReads Stars 21 765 Apr 06, 2014 01:35AM  
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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 (Gretchen Lowell #3)
  • The Night Season (Gretchen Lowell, #4)
  • Kill You Twice (Gretchen Lowell, #5)
  • Let Me Go (Gretchen Lowell, #6)

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“Our relationship is complicated by the fact that I am emotionally retarded.” 52 likes
“Something about the way she moves through the world does not lend itself to the care of fragile objects.” 49 likes
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