Well, this is actually something different. After dozens of procedurals following always the same path, here we have Ms. Cain who, mixing some Slaughter with some Kerley and McFadyen, adding a bit of Thomas Harris and some secret spices, is able to describe a very original situation. The front page mystery isn't that good but this is one of the rare cases where the background story is much more important than the mystery.
The story of Archie and Gretchen is a bit (or more than a bit) disturbing, not enough to make you put the book down but enough to hook you and, despite some hard gulps, to make you turn page after page.
The real brilliance of this book is the fascinating, bizarre, and dysfunctional relationship between an evilly sadistic serial killer and the detective that was her last victim. The second story line of the search for "the after-school strangler" isn't nearly as riveting, but the raw exploration of Archie's fragile and bruised psyche and Gretchen's extreme cruelty goes a long way to make up for this oversight....Continua
I'll admit I was a little apprehensive before I read this book. Whilst I liked Silence Of The Lambs, I couldn't really see the serial killer inside, serial killer outside dynamic being fresh or original... but i was utterly wrong.
I'll go out on a limb and suggest this book is better than silence of the lambs - the sexual chemistry between Gretchen Lowell (the killer inside) and Archie (her surviving victim) twists things nicely, and their relationship is carefully built through a series of interleaving flashbacks that add to the story rather than contrive to "be different".
A tensely plotted novel, each chapter adds intrigue, carefully layering the story up until the stinging climax, with all characters in some kind of mental anguish - nobody is perfect, everybody is damaged goods. Realistically painted every character is believable and by the end of the book I actually cared what happened to them, which doesn't happen often.
The best testament to this novel is that the second has been finished and a third is in the works - these won't be cash ins, these will be continuations to an engrossing, disturbing and genuinely terrifying story....Continua