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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Gretchen Lowell, America’s most gorgeous, insane and sexy serial killer has escaped. The camera loves Gretchen and so, it seems, does America. Her picture graces magazine covers, t-shirts with “Run Gretchen” appear on our teenagers, coffee mugs with “I’d Kill for a Cup of Coffee” and her visage appear in break rooms throughout offices, women read articles on how to “get Gretchen’s hairstyle” in fashion magazines. Gretchen Lowell fan clubs are springing up across the country. Archie Sheridan had hunted her for years, and found right beside him, involved in the case. The horrific injuries she inflicted upon him are nothing compared to the psychological damage she left in her wake. Archie has suffered and bled and survived, and now, after he has been hospitalized for months and just starting to heal, he’s being drawn back into the hunt. People are once again dying in gruesome ways, and it seems that Gretchen has returned and began killing once more. Archie is forced to begin his hunt again to discover if the Beauty Killer has returned or if this is the work of a bizarre cult of her followers.

Chelsea Cain’s new book, Evil at Heart is a high speed adrenaline pumping, pulse pounding, dry-mouthed thriller. Do you remember the times you’ve gone to a really good scary movie, and someone, usually a girl, goes into a dark scary building? And you’re saying….”don’t go in…don’t go in..” because you just know that no good can come of it if she does? That’s what this book does.

(quotes come from an Advance Readers Copy and have not been checked against the final copy for accuracy)

She forgot what she was doing. She forgot that she was looking for a way out. She moved toward the plastic, flashlight in hand, but it was so thick that the beam of light couldn’t penetrate it enough to see the other side. She tried to pull it aside but it was nailed up more securely than the sheet in the hall, and she had to duck down and squeeze through below where it was fastened.

At this point, while I’m reading as fast as I can, my right brain is screaming, “No, don’t go in there, run…run…. don’t you watch scary movies…get out get out get out….” At the same time, my left-brain is saying, “Uh…imaginary character in a novel…get a grip…” After my right-brain got done slapping the crap out of my left-brain, I continued reading and freaking out. A few more minutes of reading with my fingers splayed in front of my eyes, and I made it to the end of this particular chapter…whew…now I could go to bed. It was late, and then, yup, I’m sucked back in. It was the old “just a few more pages” bit. My recommendation: don’t start this book when you have enough time to read it in one sitting. You don’t want to dream about it, that would be scary and bad, and you sure as heck don’t want to wait and see what happens next.

Cain understands that too much of the unrelenting fear factor might not be manageable to us weaker hearted readers. She lets us see moments of humor in the thoughts of her protagonists that can elicit a chuckle from us, even though we know we probably shouldn’t giggle.

The state-trooper uniform was ridiculous—the big hat, the epaulets, the blue pants with light-blue stripes down the side; they looked like park rangers who’d lost a fight with a blueberry…

…. Hey, made me snicker…

Chelsea Cain is the Queen of Creepy as far as I’m concerned. Her first two novels, Heartsick and Sweetheart were good, and I liked them enough that I was interested in reading her third. If you're a person who hates coming in partway through a series, (like me) you might want to check them out, but I don't think you'd have to read them first to "get" Evil at Heart. I expected to like this one as well as the last, but I was wrong. It’s the best of the three, Cain just keeps getting better and better. Okay…. creepier and creepier too. My 14-year-old daughter asked what I was reading, and all I could say was, “nothing you’re allowed to read yet.” (She gets nightmares really easily, doesn’t watch scary movies either.) I hope Queen Chelsea of Creep is hard at work writing another novel, this is one loyal reader who can’t wait to have the bejeebers scared out of me again by this talented, albeit, often frightening author!

Evil at Heart goes on sale on September 1. If you're a fan of the genre...get this book! Thriller suspense at its best. But be warned, its a gruesome and graphic page turner, with a strong "ewwww" factor. (I'm as warped as the author must be, I loved it!)

My rating:


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

She is a particular author that's for sure. I've read her first two and have a hard time recommending her because she can be so graphic...a female serial killer? No way! But I like how different it is and I am a huge fan of horror movies!

Good review. I was not able to get an advanced copy this time but I will definitely check it out when it does hit bookstores.


Holly said...

Oh, I have this one waiting for me to get to and you've made me want to jump right to reading. I'm glad to hear you think it's the best one. I thought the first two were okay and all right, but if this one is better, that makes me more excited to read it!

Thanks for the great review!

CJ said...

So, the graphic part doesn't thrill me. I'm one of those who believe less is more - I prefer Hitchcock to today's gore. But, these do sound very good.

Did you know the first book was used as a prop in an episode of Castle? Wonder if it helped sales numbers?


Lisa said...

You don't see too many women writing "creepy!"

I have an award for you at:

Staci said...

I loved how you wrote this review!!! And I've read the first one, haven't gotten to 2nd one yet but sounds like I've got some creepy reading to look forward to!! Yay!!

Kristie said...

I can't wait for this book to be released! I know it comes out Tuesday, but since I am on a book buying ban, I have to wait for my library. I am soooo happy to see that you enjoyed it so much! I don't want to be disappointed!

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh, that sounds super creepy!

trish said...

I can't wait to read her other two books, and now you've got me drooling over this one! Great review, I'll definitely be getting this book.

btw, I sent you an email. :)