Thursday, November 15, 2012
As a thriller writer myself, I'm always excited and interested to see how other female thriller writers do it... and Ms. Cain did not disappoint. I enjoy flawed, complex characters and we get those in spade with Archie Sheridan, Gretchen Lowell and Susan Ward.
We know from almost the beginning that Archie’s sick obsession with Gretchen stems from the way those ten days of torture warped his mind and from how Gretchen almost cultivated the raging case of Stockholm syndrome he suffers from—but that doesn’t make it any less fucked up. We meet Archie mid-swan dive into the abyss. He’s a pill popper who’s been left by his wife and kids to hit rock bottom alone. His wife doesn’t leave him because of the drugs—she leaves him because he’s obsessed with the woman that kidnapped and tortured him.
The only thing that matters to Archie more than Gretchen is stopping murderers. He comes out of retirement to stop a new serial killer that’s hunting young women in Portland and Susan Ward is the reporter that is assigned to cover the story.
Susan is just as messed up as Archie and as the story progresses, we begin to understand why. It’s fitting that it’s Gretchen herself that offers insight into what has caused Susan so much damage and in the end we see Archie make the choice between her and the family that’s left him.
I really liked this book and admire Cain for never flinching away from the tough stuff. Hard-core thriller writing is primarily a boys’ club—It’s encouraging to see a woman do it, and do it very, very well.