‘Evil at Heart’ by Chelsea Cain

  In Chelsea Cain’s previous books “Heartsick” and “Sweetheart,” Portland detective Archie Sheridan was carved up, forced to drink drain cleaner, had his spleen removed — all by a serial killer — his wife left him and he developed a drug addiction.
  Little wonder then that Cain’s latest, “Evil at Heart,” finds poor Archie locked up in a psych ward.
  While Archie hides away licking his wounds, the serial killer who scarred him, Gretchen Lowell, is still on the loose and has become a celebrity as the public eats up the sensationalistic media coverage, prompting the creation of scores of Beauty Killer fan clubs.
  When bodies begin turning up around the city, the media craze only intensifies. Portland Herald reporter Susan Ward still is covering the case, and the new murders will again bring together the journalist and the detective as they try to figure out if it’s Gretchen doing the killing or a fan auditioning for her attention.
  “Evil at Heart,” the third in the series, is Cain’s strongest work. The characters have grown, with Susan in particular being far less annoying, and the dialogue often is amusing. The plot of the story twists and turns while the pace makes the book impossible to put down. And the descriptions … well … they are vivid.
  It looked like eyeball soup. Archie had managed to scoop up four eyeballs, and he could see at least two more still in the tank. They had been cleanly removed from their sockets — whole, plump, iridescent white orbs, mottled with red tissue, each iris a pupilless pale blue. Some floated. Some just sort of hung in the water, like pearl onions in a jar.
  Cain’s previous books spent weeks on the best-sellers lists — and she still keeps getting better. With “Evil at Heart,” packed full of scenes that will make readers squirm, she just might have cemented herself as a master of gory thrills.

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