I’ve never been a big fan my mystery thrillers, but I’m beyond addicted to Chelsea Cain’s Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series. Chelsea publishes one book a year for this series and each and every time I get my hands on the latest book, it feels like it’s my birthday. The latest, Kill You Twice is the fifth book in this very addicting and at times disturbing series. The main protagonist, Portland detective, Archie Sheridan is still trying to get over his torture by the hands of Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer who he also had a sexual affair with. Archie’s life has been destroyed thanks to Gretchen who is obsessed with him. He’s the only man she ever loved, even though she mutilated him and tortured him for days. Archie survived, and through great willpower on his part, he’s living each day as it comes. He’s actually in a good place although he can’t sleep well at night, but at least he’s off his medication and has his work. Gretchen has been locked away and now she’s on heavy medication and is losing her looks and can’t see Archie, which is her own personal torture.
Kill You Twice begins a few months after the deadly flood that almost destroyed parts of Portland. Former newspaper reporter Susan Ward is living with her eccentric mother and she’s barely making ends meet. She’s involved with Leo Reynolds, a handsome and rich business man who may or may not be involved in shady dealings because his father is in the mob. Susan misses the interaction she used to have with Archie and he’s always on his mind. But then there is another murder that Archie is investigating and one Susan wants to help out on, not only for her chance to write about the crime and gain recognition and money, but to be with Archie. And as the evidence piles up, he figures out that Gretchen is involved again in some way. Now he has to see her and interact with her, which is what she wants. She has a way of sneaking into Archie’s psyche and mind because no matter what he does, they’ll always be connected. But there’s hope Archie is getting over Gretchen because he has a new woman in his life, a younger, attractive woman who has moved into his building and wants to help give him peace of mind. Archie takes it, although he's wary because of everything that has happened with Gretchen and how the crimes he tries to solve, including this one does a number on his mental state because Gretchen again could be the one responsible for the killer’s actions.
Kill You Twice is one tension filled book with so many twists and turns you won’t see coming. Chelsea is a master at writing on the edge of your seat action and she gives such depth to her characters, even that of Gretchen who I can’t get enough of. Their relationship is beyond messed up but keeps you riveted. Their interactions and almost cat and mouse game isn’t stale and as fresh as the first book. You want Archie to get better and he is, but there’s always Gretchen lurking around, more than willing to make him suffer and claim him as her own. Gretchen is Archie’s ultimate demon he must destroy, but it looks like he’s not ready to yet.
I have a soft spot for Susan who I want to smack because she does stupid things just because she can. She’s like a cat with nine lives and it looks like the only one who can keep her on the straight and narrow is Archie. Poor Susan is so far gone over Archie but nothing can come of it because they are so wrong for one another. I see Archie as more of a big brother figure for Susan and I hope in the future books their friendship will continue to grow. Susan is very protective of Archie and she won’t let anyone hurt him again. I really do think when the final showdown occurs between Gretchen and Archie, Susan will be the one to take out Gretchen.
The final chapters of Kill You Twice had me gasping for breath due to some shocks I would have never expected. Chelsea is an author who keeps the reader on their toes and she has done that and then some with Kill You Twice. If you’re not reading this series and you’re a big fan of thriller and police procedurals, you need to read this book, or rather the entire series. Immerse yourself with Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell. Both these characters will grab hold of you by the throat and won’t let go. (Minotaur)
Final Grade: B+
A few other Kill You Twice reviews:
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