Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let Me Go

Detective Archie Sheridan wants his birthday and Halloween to pass quietly and uneventfully, an unlikely prospect when Gretchen Lowell, a serial killer with a particular obsession with him, is still free. While celebrating his birthday with his ex-wife and his kids, he is called to a crime scene where a DEA agent is murdered, leading him to believe their undercover agents are now compromised. This includes Susan's boyfriend, Leo Reynolds whose father is notorious druglord. So, Archie finds himself of Jack Reynolds' Halloween party on a secluded island to make sure Leo is alive. After a strange night that he only remembers part of, it's clear that Gretchen is back and eager to give him her sick interpretation of a birthday present complete with an abduction and certain death for that person if she doesn't get her way. The latest book in the Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan series is thrilling, disturbing, bloody, and darkly funny.

This is the sixth book in this series and it shows no signs of slowing down or becoming stale. These characters are changing and growing through each book. Archie is more physically and psychologically healthy than we have ever seen him. He has a girlfriend (with a resemblance to Gretchen and a heart tattoo, but still a step in the right direction) and successfully kicked his drug habit. Susan isn't the naive, soft young woman she used to be. Interactions with various serial killers has hardened her and made her tougher. She has the same gung-ho attitude and flamboyant fashion sense, but she's not as trusting and careless to danger. Leo, usually the suave and annoyingly handsome playboy, is a shell of himself. Disheveled, emotionally broken, depressed, and borderline alcoholic, the role of double agent is significantly wearing on him. In the course of six books, these characters are not static, nor are they perfect.

At first, it seemed like Gretchen Lowell would be largely absent from Let Me Go like in The Night Season because she was on the run and there was no focus on her for the first half of the novel. Like many of the other books, her influence throughout the majority of the events becomes clear as the plot goes on. She is back to her old self after being medicated and transformed in prison. Her level of brutality and sadism is elevated and went places I never thought would be explored. We also see a different side to her and just how dangerous she can really be up close. Her early relationship with Archie is explored before she tortured him and before he knew she was a murderer. It shows more of her manipulation and the way she really screwed with Archie's head. Gretchen is one of the few female serial killers portrayed in fiction, but she's magnetic and repellent at the same time. You're curious to see what she will do, but you also dread it. Through 6 books, she (and her twisted relationship with Archie) is still interesting and dynamic

Let Me Go has a lot going on and it could have easily become a convoluted mess. Chelsea Cain rises to the challenges and keeps each thread of the story clear and detailed. I will read as many books as she will write with this series. I have had my doubts before, but she has earned my complete faith and I would read anything she wrote.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

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