Monday, October 6, 2008

Recommended reading: Part 2

Another review for my friends at my favorite podcast

Review of 'Heart Sick" by Chelsea Cain..

It is a stellar first novel!

Not extreme horror, per se - but definately on that vein.
It's very grim, dark and disturbing and would be fantastic put to celluloid.


Archie Sheridan is a semi-retired Portland detective with a past history of being abducted by a female serial killer who tortures him beyond belief. Gretchen Lowell is the serial killer ("The Beauty Killer") who he has finally imprisoned - she still has a hold on him, albeit emotionally, to this day.
He tracked her for ten years leading up to his subsequent abduction and her eventual capture.

He cannot get past it. He relives the time he spent with her every day, keeping some sort of sick feelings for her deep inside. Like Stockholm Syndrome a bit. She even left her calling card for him to remember forever the events: she carved a heart onto his chest.

Archie cannot let her go and continues to visit her in jail. He is addicted to pain killers - and Gretchen, like his medicine, is a sort of crutch for him. She uses this against him in a sort of sick game. She lives for it. Archie is the only one of her victims that lived. She designed it that way.
Because he cannot let the past go, he is compelled to ask her help (a 'la Silence of the Lambs) when he returns to help the force on a current case. A serial killer is killing and dumping teenagers after soaking them in vats of bleach.

Their troubling and unsettling conversations and questionable behavior is the root of the novel. Is Archie in love with Gretchen? How can that even be possible?

Also figuring into the mix is a reporter, Susan Ward - a punk-rocker type of young woman who is covering the case and in turn, working closely with Detective Sheridan. She is determined to get her angle - to follow Archie's return to the force and his hunt again for another serial killer and how that is affecting him with his dreadful past... She is wiser than her years and naturally develops feelings for Archie, though he is unable to reciprocate due to his strange and preposterous devotion to Gretchen.
This book is wrapped in layers of mental anguish, physical destruction, shame, deceit, addictions, mystery and fine character development. I highly recommend it.

As for the movie it SHOULD become:
I'm thinking maybe Cate Blanchett, Diane Lane, Carrie Ann Moss (The Matrix), or Demi Moore (though the part may be too complex for her talents) as Gretchen.
Perhaps Viggo Mortensen (because he can do anything!), Liam Neeson, Kevin Bacon, Kurt Russell, Robert Downey Jr., or even Richard Gere (stretch your imagination) as Archie Sheridan. And as for the younger, punked out journalist Susan Ward - how about Zooey Deschanel, Rachel McAdams, Anne Hathaway, or Selma Blair.....

I can seriously see any combination of these actors in this film.... except the Diane Lane/Richard Gere thing. Too much romantic movie history - wouldn't work. I especially like the Robert Downey Jr./Cate Blanchett combo.

Oh, and by the way - I am currently reading the just released sequel: 'Sweetheart'.
I'll let you know...

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