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Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell, #1)
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Heartsick (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  31,675 Ratings  ·  2,683 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)
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Layla Torres I have only read Heartsick, but it mentions very vaguely why she was called the Beauty Killer. If I remember correctly, it was either the way she…moreI have only read Heartsick, but it mentions very vaguely why she was called the Beauty Killer. If I remember correctly, it was either the way she killed them was done very nicely, or "beautifully," or the people she killed were attractive. I believe it it the former, though. But it's definitely strange and a coincidence that she just so happened to be a beauty herself. (less)

Community Reviews

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Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have to say I found a new author, Chelsea Cain. She writes so well. This book is definately different than other mysteries. The characters are very well developed. I was not expecting the outcome of what the book was about. This surely isn't for the faint of heart. It has to do with serial killers.

Gretchen Lowell is a killer. She tortures her victims then kills them. She also has victims killing others, she had several of them.

Archie Sheridan becomes one of her victims. She tortures him for t
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
This is my second go around with this series and this time I'm reading it in its proper order. I started this series years ago but for some reason or another I never finished it, so I've made it my mission to read the whole series before the end of summer. This is easier said then done because I have a jam packed summer reading list.

The first time I read this series I as I mentioned earlier read it out of order, I actually bought the second book Sweetheart and was halfway through it before it d
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☝Hold the Fairy Dust
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
I'm not a big reader of books in the crime genre, but I was in the mood for this sort of thing after bingeing my way through the last few seasons of Dexter on Netflix. Heartsick had one of those gripping and exciting sounding blurbs. The story never quite matched the promise of the blurb, but I did find the plot engaging and the characters the right mix of likeable and intriguing.

The main focus of this story was on two characters, though we did get multiple scenes from lesser characters along t
A doctor who is a serial killer kidnaps a detective who is working on the very case to catch her, the serial killer. He has been getting her help as a consultant on the case for months. The man who walked into her trap will never be the same man ever again.

A great but gruesome story that goes back and forth in time until it all comes together at the end. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I find it difficult to rate this one. It was like two books in one. The backstory of Detective Archie Sheridan and his "relationship" with Gretchen Lowell, the most gorgeous, intelligent and downright evil serial you'll ever come across was incredibly compelling. But the actual mystery, the case Archie is currently working on in the book, I found extremely weak and obvious. From the moment they were introduced, there was no question in my mind who the killer was. I really laboured through those ...more
Geoffrey Kleinman
Aug 15, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Angela DeSilva
Excellent story and writing, reading the whole series and loving it.
Tiffany PSquared
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE a good serial killer thriller novel. That's why this book made it onto my "favorite series firsts" shelf - it was freaking amazing!
The characters, the build-up, the tension (sexual and otherwise) was intense. I loved every second of this book.
Not to mention that the serial killer is bat-nuts cuckoo and vicious! Even as I review this I'm torn between wanting to read this one again or moving on to the next book in the series, Sweetheart.

Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Aug 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
Oct 07, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a long-time-later reread for me and since i'd forgotten most of the pertinent points, still managed to surprise. The main plot leaves something to be desired, there's nothing particularly special about it, but the relationship between Archie and his murderer/saviour Gretchen Lowell is both novel and intriguing. That blend of fear and desire, that closeness, was well written enough to make the reader feel genuinely uncomfortable, a real counterbalance to a rape/murder plot that ticks all ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
3 and a half, junk food reading stars.

What better book to read as the world explodes in Valentine’s Day stuff than a police procedural about a sexy female murderer who likes to carve hearts in her victims’ chests with a box cutter? I don’t read a lot of thrillers (they are usually not weird enough for my taste), but this book caught my eye at the used bookstore because I couldn’t remember ever having read a story about a female serial killer before.

Archie Sheridan was kidnapped and tortured by G
Emma♔☯ (Bookishfix)
“Whatever you think this is going to be like," she whispers, "it's going to be worse.”

This surprised me alittle due to the fact on the front cover it states 'Up there in the same league as Silence of the Lambs' The main story was a little boring/slow at times, but the relationship between serial killer Gretchen Lowell and detective Archie Sheridan was interesting enough to keep me reading. This is read in different perspectives, generally Archie or Susans with a few chapters to separate the tw
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
Terri Lynn
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Talk about a psychological thriller! Wow! Archie Sheridan was a detective who was happily married and daddy to a little boy and little girl. He spent a decade trying to find and capture the Beauty Killer who killed 200 people. What a shock he got when instead of a man it turned out to be a gorgeous woman named Gretchen Lowell, a sociopath who manipulated Archie into thinking she could help him solve the murders only to capture him and torture him to death only to revive him. She's in prison now ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Maria by: Wendy Darling
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
Sep 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, thriller
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
Aira Karina
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
this book is my kind of BOOK. I love the characters, i love how twisted the stories on it. I just hate the way the story written. It was pretty slow for me, and i need more about Gretchen Lowell. Well, i hope they explores her on the next book, which is already on my kindle.
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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
Jun 22, 2013 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!!!
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 - A very promising first novel and I have already started her second book. The novel introduces Archie, Susan and Gretchen and it looks as though they will develop into very solid characters as more details unfold. Certainly worth a read.
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Question 3 16 Mar 23, 2016 04:46PM  
My heart is aching to read the second in the series 1 9 Feb 28, 2016 08:15PM  
Why are we, as readers, fascinated with the character of Gretchen? 32 150 Feb 02, 2016 10:43AM  
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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 (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)

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“Our relationship is complicated by the fact that I am emotionally retarded.” 58 likes
“Something about the way she moves through the world does not lend itself to the care of fragile objects.” 54 likes
More quotes…