Scott's Reviews > Kill You Twice

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain
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's review
Jul 20, 12

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bookshelves: crime, fiction, portland
Read in June, 2012

Portland author Chelsea Cain continues to plumb the darker pits of the Rose City with "Kill You Twice," her fifth book in this bloody series. For the fourth, "The Night Season," detective Archie Sheridan took a rare opportunity to pursue another serial killer besides the gorgeous psychiatrist/slasher Gretchen Lowell (then safely in police custody), but Cain refuses to stray too far from Lowell and her sadistic hold over Sheridan.

While "The Night Season" saw Portland inundadted with a near-Biblical flood, "Kill You Twice" finds Portland baking under a heat wave. (One of the little secrets we Portlanders like to keep from Californians - it's actually hot and sunny here in the summer.) Detective Sheridan continues to try to put his fractured life in order, but Gretchen Lowell won't allow it. Using her unique ability to manipulate events - even while drugged out of her gourd in the same mental hospital where they filmed "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" - Lowell puts Archie and quasi-intrepid reporter Susan Ward on the trail of another serial killer.

The twist is, Gretchen Lowell now claims that she hasn't killed everyone she's been blamed for. True, she has admittedly killed scores of others in various horrifying ways, but she's a stickler for the details. And there is the prospect that Gretchen Lowell, serial killer par excellence, is worried for the safety of someone else out in the real world. Someone she actually cares about.

"Kill You Twice" allows the reader to delve deeper into the Gretchen Lowell legend - where she comes from, who her family was, etc. Lowell remains a Hannibal Lecter knock-off - she even uses Lecter's patented "Quid pro quo" line - but she is a fascinating character with a rich story to tell.

And Archie Sheridan is a great choice of protagonist - noble but flawed, long-suffering but re-emerging into humanity, and perpetually one step behind Gretchen. Sheridan's intimate circle grows a bit in this book, and in unexpected ways. This is a treat for the guy whose fixation on Lowell is flat-out unhealthy.

Once again, we don't have a perfect thriller here. But what we have is a bloody, gory, demented detective novel that goes into some of the darkest corners of the human psyche. And who doesn't love that?
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