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Sweetheart (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #2)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  12,629 ratings  ·  1,092 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 has returned home to his ex-wife and their two children and sworn off visiting Gretchen. Though it should feel lik ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2008)
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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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
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
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
Ramsey Hootman
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...
Kasia S.
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
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
Dec 04, 2008 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Sweetheart was #2 in Chelsea Cain’s Archie & Gretchen series. I forgot how much I love her books! It has just the right amount of mystery, creepiness, violence and suspense. Sweetheart starts off with Archie investigating a murder in the park where he found his first Gretchen Lowell victim. The murder ends up tying in with a story, Archie’s reporter friend Susan Ward is involved in, so Susan gets pulled into the case with Archie and his partner, Henry. Then when Gretchen escapes from prison ...more

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.
Paul Wardman
I really don't get it. Since finishing this I've read plenty of reviews and many have praised this and it's predecessor as being gripping, amazingly and all the rest. And I don't get why.

I'll admit this is a step up for me over the first in the series. But not because of Gretchen or Archie. Because of Susan, the journalist. A character I had zero interest in during the first outing for all these characters. This time I found her and the story she was working on very interesting. I could have re
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
This is the 2nd book where you have another murder that has to do with a story Susan has been working on for a while. And than something else happens and you're like, oh boy, these guys are going to need to take a long nap after this. Especially Henry and Archie and Susan.

I was going to give this a 4 or 4.5 but then halfway into the book it took an interesting turn that I should have seen coming. But didn't and yet it should of been obvious.

That's what happens when you stay up to read a little
What can I say about this series? Except that it seems to get better! I love the dynamic of Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell. She's the female serial killer and he's the detective who finally caught her. Or rather she caught him. In the second book of the series, there are new bodies and old problems. Archie can't get Gretchen off his mind. There are still so many unanswered questions he has for her. And the chance to recover remains of people she's killed that they don't know about. But then ...more
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.
A good concept taken too far. The escape of Gretchen taints the conspiracy/mystery. The relationship between Gretchen and Archie becomes unbelievable and ruins the end of the book.
Damn! After I finished Heartsick this morning I started on Sweetheart, which was a longer book and yet I devoured it in a day. Sweetheart went faster than Heartsick for me probably because I already got a feel of all the characters and I was used to the world in this series. Also the case wasn't the traditional murder mystery set up the way Heartsick was. There's a bunch of different plots going on in this book. 1) There's the Molly Palmer case that we were introduced to in Heartsick. 2) Then th ...more
Titas (Emperor)
Fool me twice, shame on me…
First of all, Ms Chelsea Cain writes like a sick, twisted, mentally ill person. No, actually she is a very witty, clever, wonderful writer whose books make you feel that way. This is the second book of Gretchen Lowell series and sadly it stumbles sometime comparing to the marvellous previous one (Heartsick).

The books wastes no time in setting up mood or any type of ground formation. It jumps right in the middle of a war zone after just a few pages and grips readers on
Kelly McCoy
This is a series I love so much I read it every year, usually during summer. In the first paragraph of Sweetheart, it’s a beautiful day in Portland’s Forest Park. Trees, flowers, it’s all so lovely, but by paragraph two there’s a dead women whose face has been eaten off by animals. How can you not love Chelsea Cain?

The story starts a few months after Heartsick, and Archie has not seen Gretchen since then. He is living with his wife and children but his relationship with his family will never be
I thought author Chelsea Cain had a great premise with her first novel "Heartsick" - a detective (Archie) is kidnapped and tortured by an unrealistically beautiful serial killer (Gretchen) posing as a psychologist. She lets him live (not a spoiler alert because the novel starts two years after this event, and the circumstances are revealed in flashbacks). In the first novel we find Archie divorced, depressed, addicted to pain killers and weirdly obsessed with Gretchen. She's no Hannibal Lecter - ...more
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Doubts 5 24 Mar 14, 2014 08:36AM  
Bookworm Buddies: Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, & The night Season 24 26 Apr 05, 2013 03:18PM  
  • The Face of Death (Smoky Barrett, #2)
  • So Close the Hand of Death (Taylor Jackson, #6 )
  • Undone (Will Trent, #3)
  • The Girls He Adored
  • Stalked (Jonathan Stride, #3)
  • Body Count (Sophie Anderson,  #1)
  • Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder, #2)
  • Split Second (Maggie O'Dell, #2)
  • China Lake (Evan Delaney, #1)
  • Fuzzy Navel (Jack Daniels Mystery, #5)
  • Play Dead
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 (Gretchen Lowell, #1)
  • Evil at Heart (Gretchen Lowell #3)
  • The Night Season (Gretchen Lowell, #4)
  • Kill You Twice (Gretchen Lowell, #5)
  • Let Me Go (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.”
More quotes…