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In Cain's tense sixth thriller featuring serial killer Gretchen Lowell and Det. Archie Sheridan (after 2012's Kill You Twice), the murder of DEA agent Carl Richmond leads Archie to investigate Portland, Ore., businessman Jack Reynolds's drug empire. Jack's son, Leo, is not only the boyfriend of freelance reporter Susan Ward but also the mole for the Feds inside his father's operation. Carl was Leo's handler. In an effort to determine whether Leo is alive or dead, Archie attends a lavish Halloween masquerade ball on Jack's private island in a tony Portland suburb. Susan also attends, at Jack's insistence. When a party guest turns up dead the next morning and Gretchen, who escaped from the state mental hospital months earlier, is seen in the vicinity, Archie has to choose his allies wisely if he's to survive. Carefully peeling back Gretchen's psychological layers with each new book, Cain continues to impress with her complex game of cat-and-mouse. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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The sixth installment of this series (after Kill You Twice) picks up mere months after serial killer Gretchen Lowell has escaped from a mental institution. Det. Archie Sheridan is actively trying to form some semblance of a normal life; he's involved with the woman who lives next door, spends time with his rescued corgi, and he's officially off the Beauty Killer case. But any hopes that he's free of her clutches are quickly dashed when disturbing, graphic evidence surfaces indicating that Gretchen is most certainly not done with Archie. Archie and his unwaveringly loyal friend Susan are immediately forced into the middle of Gretchen's horrifying game. Verdict Fans of Cain's series will be sucked in once again. Gretchen is at her worst while somehow also being her most, dare this reviewer say it, loving. Archie is still infuriatingly attached and conflicted, while the romantic tension between him and Susan is palpable. Cain has an incredible talent for draping clues between books that makes the reader wonder if she's been plotting every single move since the first sentence of the series. Her writing is goose bump-inducing, slyly witty, and bloody sexy. One of the most satisfying thriller series today. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/13; library marketing.]-Madeline Solien, Deerfield P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* It figures that nonpareil serial killer Gretchen Lowell, on the loose since Kill You Twice (2012), would pick Halloween for a return trip to Portland, Oregon. After all, with all those revelers adorned in Beauty Killer masks, blond wigs, and red lipstick, no one will be able to tell the real Gretchen from the imitations. Except police detective Archie Sheridan, of course, on whose battered body Gretchen has done some of her best work, and who still can't get Gretchen out of both his nightmares and sexual fantasies. But Archie has a lot on his mind. A DEA agent has been murdered, and it looks like the long-running sting operation aimed at a local drug lord may be in jeopardy. Hoping to learn more, Archie crashes the drug lord's Halloween costume party, where he gets a late-night visit from Gretchen (or was that part just a fantasy?). Slowly Archie realizes that Gretchen has been stage-managing much of his recent life from afar, all leading up to a series of birthday surprises that put Archie's pal, punky reporter Susan Ward, in grave danger. But here's the thing: Cain knows she needs to keep playing with the dynamic between Gretchen and Archie and even with our view of Gretchen if this series is going to stay both fresh and exciting, and she always finds new ways to do it. Gretchen Lowell isn't just the most fascinating villain (and certainly the most appealing serial killer) to appear in crime fiction in many, many years; she's also becoming a multifaceted character capable of engendering a much wider range of emotions than one would expect of somebody who enjoys carving up spleens. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cain's previous Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell thrillers have routinely appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists, and the legion of fans who can't get enough of the Beauty Killer will be lining up for more.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist