Book Review Jackie K Cooper
LET ME GO by Chelsea Cain
Portland, Oregon Police Detective Archie Sheridan has a problem. There is a serial killer loose in his city. Her name is Gretchen Lowell and she and Archie have a long history together. He is fascinated by her and she loves him to death - at one time almost literally. This strange relationship makes up the core of Chelsea Cain's new novel LET ME GO, a complex and fascinating book.
If you have not read the first five Archie and Gretchen novels go ahead and plunge in now. You might not have all the details of their warped relationship but you will get the essence pretty quickly. Once you are into the story, hang on. It is one wild ride.
In the past Archie and Gretchen had a sexual relationship. He was married at the time but was so fascinated by her that he risked his marriage, his wife and his children to be with this unusual woman who drove him to heights of pain and pleasure. Eventually she got carried away and carved out his spleen. This is when he realized she was a serial killer who had been terrorizing the Portland area.
Later he arrested her and she was hospitalized. At the start of this book she has escaped and is on the loose. Archie knows it is just a matter of time before she finds him and begins her taunting one more time. He just hopes that she focuses on him and leaves his friends and family alone. H is now divorced but he fears for his ex-wife and kids. He also fears for his friend Susan who is a free lance writer who has been exposed to Gretchen's wild ways in the past.
It is Halloween Eve and Archie's birthday when things begin to get a little crazy. Susan's boyfriend Leo is an undercover DEA Agent who is also the son of a known drug dealer. He has refused to come out from his undercover role and Archie fears his cover has been blown. If it has, then Leo is a dead man.
While Archie is trying to keep Leo alive and Susan safe, Gretchen slips back into town. She cannot stay away from Archie and in some sick way wants to have their relationship start up again. Archie wants to arrest her again, he thinks, but there is still that fatal attraction about her. Oh, and did I mention there is a new serial killer in town?
In the hands of a less skilled writer all of this craziness would melt into farce, but Cain knows just how far to push it all. She takes it to the edge of absurdity and at the last possible moment pulls it back. This knack for knowing just how much the reader can take keeps her fans anxiously pursuing the next page and the next. Some of the scenes of violence verge on the repulsive but in this area too, Cain knows just how far to push it.
Chelsea Cain is unlike any other mystery writer on the scene today. She has yet to explode into major reader awareness but it could happen at any time. She is unique; she is amazingly talented; and she is fascinating. LET ME GO is one of her best novels and based on how extraordinary her previous novels are, this is a major accomplishment.
LET ME GO is published by Minotaur Books. It contains 358 pages and sells for $25.99.
Jackie K Cooper