In Portland, Oregon, the serial killer soaks his victims in bleach before discarding the teenage girls. Police Detective Archie Sheridan is assigned to lead the task force investigating the case. He knows he must get his act together to prevent more victims, but also thinks back to when he went after serial killer psychiatrist Gretchen “The Beauty Queen” Lowell. She caught and tortured him for ten days including breaking his ribs so that she left behind a heart shaped scar. He lives because she called 911, but he uses painkillers at an alarming rate to ease the ache and continues to visit Gretchen weekly although he claims it is to get her to tell the authorities where the bodies are buried; he knows deep inside she owns him even from behind bars.
On the task force is energetic pink haired reporter Susan Ward. She rejects Archie’s controlling orders; instead she pushes him to do the right thing but she must compete with Gretchen who controls Archie so much so that he deserted his family for her. As the tug of war between the two females occurs, the bleach killer is interested in the reporter as a victim while Archie thinks this case might get him past his fascination that has made no woman compare to his Gretchen.
I n an obvious connection to Hannibal Lector, HEARTSICK is a fabulous psychological police procedural that grips the audience from the onset, but especially when readers meet Gretchen. The story line switches back and forth between the current case to when Gretchen captured Archie effortlessly so that both subplots are well written and gripping. Readers will appreciate this dark suspense thriller driven by the lead quartet whose tango means death.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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