I can't even...
Where to begin.
Ten days. Ten long, gruesome days. That's the amount of time detective Archie Sheridan was tortured at the hands of a sadistic, but beautiful, serial killer, Gretchen Lowell. Those horrible ten days ended when Gretchen inexplicably called 911, told the operator where she and Archie were, and turned herself in after an eleven year killing spree and over 200 victims.
Two years later, Archie is divorced, pops pills like they're candy, and refuses to contact his two children. He also has an unhealthy obsession with his former captor, Gretchen, and visits her every Sunday. He explains it away and says she's revealing one of her victims each week, but throughout the book his partner and ex-wife question if that's the only reason.
Archie is also asked to be the head of a new task force, his first since going on medical leave after Gretchen's torment. He agrees, and the hunt for The After School Strangler begins. This killer is one who is kidnapping young girls, raping them, dousing them in bleach, strangling them, and then leaving their body somewhere to be found.
Susan Ward is the other main character of this novel. She's a journalist that is shadowing Archie as he works his way through the case. She's a sarcastic, witty, intelligent woman, and my favorite character in this novel.
This is Chelsea Cain's debut, and right out of the gate, she is one of my new favorite authors. There isn't really a dull moment in this book, each page left me wanting more. Everything about this story worked for me.
Gretchen Lowell is, by far, one of the worst serial killers that I can recall, but there is something about her that made me want to skip ahead to the parts where she is mentioned. I was squirming when I read about the pain she inflicted on Archie (and not just because of my fear of needles) and when she described how she methodically tortured another of her victims.
I'm so glad I already have the next in this series, Sweetheart, because it won't be long before I need to devour more of Cain's writing.
This review can also be found on my blog, www.booktacularworld.blogspot.com