Marisa's Reviews > Heartsick

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
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's review
Aug 28, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction-i-ll-read-again

It’s really TWISTED! –yet incredibly intriguing
Heart Sick is the story of Archie, a married father of two and a police detective, who spent ten years heading up a task force whose sole purpose was to capture a particularly heinous, evil and prolific serial killer. In a cruel twist of fate she (the serial killer, yes there in lies one of the many rubs in this book, the serial killer is a woman) captures and tortures him – unbelievably he survives. And so the story of how he is tortured to death, yes I said death, AND then is revived, yes I said revived, by the serial killer (her name is Gretchen if you must know) begins. While he is strapped down to a table and tortured to death an inextricable bond is formed between victim and torturer. I warned you, twisted.
The book reveals all of this slowly and is really the B plot in the book. You’re thinking there’s more? Well, yes there is; a lot more. The A plot happens two years after the B plot (remember B plot is capture, torture, death, resurrection, rescue) A Plot revolves around a new task force that Archie is leading. Its purpose: you guessed it, to catch a new serial killer.
Ms. Cain does an excellent job of weaving these two story lines together and illuminating just enough of both past and present to whet your appetite and create maximum tension while revealing back stories that motivate the characters in present day.
Even though Gretchen (the serial killer) is in prison for the rest of her natural born days, her relationship with Archie is still alive and well and prominently figures into his present day life. Their relationship is sick, heart sick, and is the crux for Archie’s every waking breath.
Heart Sick is crafted in such a way that both the A and B Plot are parallel lines that slowly and beautifully intersect. And that is the brilliance of it. You never see the convergence of these two lines until it appears before you on the page. When the lines finally do cross, it all becomes clear and at the same time leaves you wanting more. No worries on that score, there is a sequel.
This book crossed all of my boundaries. I mean this is the kind of stuff that is splashed across the headline news for maximum exposure and readership. The kind of stuff I stalwartly avoid; I will not give into this kind of news. However, I found myself fascinated, fascinated I tell you, and could not put this book down. I don’t have a clear answer as to why that is. Perhaps it was because the book was so well written, the characters well thought out and the premise both horrifying and intriguing at the same time. As, I’ve said, it’s very twisted but the dynamics, story arc, character motivations and dialog are interwoven and written in such a way that I kept turning the pages… I needed to find out what would happen next. It was powerful and different; but certainly not for the faint of heart. Think Dexter with a twist. With Heart Sick, I crossed a boundary in my reading taste that I never thought I’d cross and I’m ready for more.


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