Review & Giveaway: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

April 12, 2010 Crime Fiction, Minotaur Books, Mystery/Suspense, Review, Thriller 16

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0312368488
  • Source: Publisher

Archie Sheridan was held captive and tortured by Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful and sexy serial killer who has haunted the citizens of Portland, OR for years.  She brags that she’s killed over 200 people, and she nearly killed Archie. He’s voluntarily admitted himself into a psychiatric hospital in an attempt to get over his addiction of Vicoden, and Gretchen herself.

Archie’s not the only one who is infatuated with Gretchen. Her crimes have been sensationalized by the media; Hundreds of “Beauty Killer” fan sites have popped up on the internet.  There’s even a tour bus that drives tourists around to the spots where Gretchen’s victims’ bodies were found.

When body parts are discovered in the bathroom of a local rest stop, along with the tell-tale “hearts” Gretchen was known to decorate her crime scenes (and victims!) with, everyone believes the serial killer is killing again.  Archie’s good friend, Detective Henry Sobol, new lead of the “Beauty Killer” task force, asks Archie to check himself out of the psych ward to once again join the hunt for Gretchen. Joining the hunt alongside Archie and Henry is Susan Ward, a reporter for the local newspaper, another near-victim of the Beauty Killer.

Bodies begin showing up at the sites of Gretchen’s killings.  Something seems a little off to Archie. Gretchen’s MO is to remove the spleens of her victims and to carve hearts on their bodies.  These new victims don’t quite fit the profile of Gretchen’s handiwork.  Once again, Archie puts his own life in danger in order to find the truth behind the killings.

Chelsea Cain has once again done a stunning job!  Her ability to portray such a vicious killer astounds and impresses me.  As in the previous two books, Sweetheart and Heartsick, the relationship between Archie and Gretchen fascinates me!  Archie’s character has performed an astounding transformation.  He literally went from a bumbling love-sick puppy in Gretchen’s presence to a relatively strong character.

There are quite a few scenes in  Evil at Heart that are terrifying and gruesome, even more so than any of Cain’s previous books. However, this wasn’t just randomly inserted, I think it was done to realistically capture the pure evil that resides in the killer.

I highly recommend this, and the other “Beauty Killer” books to anyone who enjoy a nice, terrifying read! Take a peak at the book’s trailer!

I’m now happy to announce a special giveaway!  One grand prize winner will receive the entire “Beauty Killer” series: a paperback of Heartsick, an ARC of Sweetheart, and a hardback copy of Evil at Heart.  One runner-up will win an audiobook of Heartsick. To be entered into the contest, please fill out the form below. Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only.  Contest ends Monday, April 26th.

Please be sure to come back on Saturday for post about Chelsea Cain’s Portland.  You see, in Cain’s writing, the setting is practically a character itself.  Cain made sure to pick real locations to detail in her books, and on Saturday we’re going to take a tour of these spots!

16 Responses to “Review & Giveaway: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain”

  1. Jen Forbus
    Twitter: jenforbus

    Great review, Jenn. I listened to this one on audio and the narrator helps to emphasize all those elements you’re dicussing in your review. This is a great series and a wonderful way to highlight Portland!

    Thanks for including it in the theme week!

  2. nomadreader
    Twitter: nomadreader

    I read Evil at Heart last fall, and I think it was the best of her books yet. I’m eagerly anticipating the fourth one!

  3. Lisa

    Not my usual kind of read but everyone who reads this seems to love them so I’m game to give it a go!

  4. Sabine

    Ooohhh!!!! I so need a new series! This sounds terrific! Thanks for the chance in the give-a-way.

  5. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    Whoa! I’m not sure .. these books sound awesome on one level but maybe too spooky for me? Great trailer.

    • Jenn
      Twitter: jennbookshelves

      Nah, I don’t think they’re too spooky for you. Just bits and pieces are creepy!

  6. Angie D

    I would love to win this series. I’ve read her first book but not the others!

  7. Martha Lawson

    I really enjoyed the gorgeous pictures of Portland!! Thanks for the giveaway!!