Frightful Friday: Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain

August 3, 2012 Frightful Friday, Minotaur Books, Mystery/Suspense, Review 2

Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.

This week’s featured book is Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain:

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0312619782
  • Source: Publisher


Gretchen Lowell, the serial killer who has been tormenting Portland for years, is finally locked away in a psych ward, the medication to treat her transforming her into just a shell of the beauty she was before.  Finally, Portland detective Archie Sheridan can start to heal from the emotional and physical devastation Gretchen inflicted on him.

In true Archie form, he throws himself in the next case that crosses his desk. A body is found by a cyclist, tortured, skinned and found hanging from a tree. The killer was bold; the crime committed out in the open.  Soon after, Archie receives a message from Gretchen’s doctor: Gretchen claims to have information about the killing.  Knowing Gretchen’s history of manipulating those around her just to satisfy her own needs, Archie ignores Gretchen’s demands that he visit her.

As the Portland police are called out on similarly brutal crimes, Archie can’t help but wonder if Gretchen is involved somehow in these killings, despite being locked up in a secure medical facility.  He visits her, and as always, Gretchen treats the visit and their interaction as a game, only revealing just enough information to whet Archie’s attention. It obviously isn’t Gretchen committing these brutal murders, but someone with ties directly to her.  Is there a serial killer more brutal to the Beauty Killer stalking the streets of Portland? Only Archie Sheridan can get inside the evil mind of Gretchen and discover the identity of the killer.

Let me start off by saying that Chelsea Cain, by far, is my all time favorite female thriller writer. I’ve followed Archie & Gretchen’s sick and twisted relationship from the beginning, engulfing each of the books in this series as soon as I can get my hands on them. Admittedly, I always set my standards high when it comes to Cain’s writing and, to date, I have yet to be disappointed.

Kill You Twice once again lives up to these standards and may very well be my favorite. While Gretchen doesn’t play quite the involved role as she has in previous books, readers learn more about her past and how she came to be the Beauty Killer.  But, by far my favorite part of this book is the amount of growth, and healing, Archie experiences.  While Gretchen continues to have a hold on him, he’s finally learned how to break the chains she holds on his heart, his emotions, his body. To say the relationship this extremely odd-couple has is twisted is an understatement. Gretchen has performed incredibly brutal and tortuous things to Archie yet, despite it all, there is a level of respect and, yes, love between the two. Yet, Archie is able to put these strong…feelings aside and use his control and influence on Gretchen to get the information he needs.

Kill You Twice is the fifth book in this series and while readers could probably get by with picking up the series at any point, I highly, highly recommend you start at the beginning with Heartsick to truly understand the history of Gretchen & Archie’s relationship, to see it evolve.

Cain excels at developing these incredibly rich characters. In my opinion, she is the queen of psychological thrillers, never failing to take her reader on a twisted journey inside the mind of an incredibly demented character. Like author Gillian Flynn, Cain creates a demented world that you can’t bear to tear yourself away from.

Now is the perfect time to start this series if you have not yet, for FX is developing the series for television! Looking for a incredibly twisted psychological thriller? This is the series for you! Highly, highly recommended.

For you audiobook fans, this title is also available in audiobook format from Macmillan Audio. Click here to listen to a sample.



2 Responses to “Frightful Friday: Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain”

  1. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    Sounds like a series I need to start — especially if it’s going to be mad into a series.