“Sensual and engulfing…keeps us turning the pages.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Portland detective Archie Sheridan, the former head of the Beauty Killer Task Force, hunted Gretchen Lowell for years before she kidnapped him, tortured him, and then let him go. Now that she is behind bars, Archie is finally piecing his life back together. He’s returned home to his ex-wife and their two children. But no matter how hard Archie tries, he just can’t stop thinking about Gretchen…
When the body of a young woman is discovered in Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the first corpse he discovered there a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. Then, the unthinkable happens: Gretchen escapes from prison, and once the news breaks, all of Portland goes on high alert…but secretly, Archie is relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can capture Gretchen—and now he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all. Even if it means becoming her last victim…
“Sweetheart is not afraid to explore damage too severe to be undone.”—Los Angeles Times
Fortunately, most of us have never encountered a real serial killer, so we are all too pleased to give the author license as she invents Gretchen in wanton, wide-screen glory. Sweetheart is not a nuanced psychological thriller in the tradition of P. D. James or Margaret Atwood. The violence is too predictable and graphic to be terrifying. But the novel is sensual and engulfing. We feel Archie's every aching rib and taste the bitter narcotics he downs five pills at a time to banish his agony. We smell Gretchen's lilac perfume and the entrails she likes to leave as calling cards. But it is the marital drama entwined with the carnageArchie's conflict, his wife's protective rage and the menace posed by the ultimate home-wreckerthat keeps us turning the pages.