Monday, July 30, 2012

book review: Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain

The backstory: Kill You Twice is the fifth novel by Chelsea Cain featuring Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan. My reviews of the previous four: Heartsick, Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, and The Night Season.

The basics: When a grisly murder happens in Portland, incarcerated Gretchen Lowell claims to have inside information on the killer. Does she really? Or is she simply playing mind games with Archie Sheridan again?

My thoughts: After The Night Season, which was a departure for the series, I was curious where Cain would take this newest novel. Those who thought there wasn't enough Gretchen in it will likely be thrilled with her return to co-star in Kill You Twice. The move was mostly successful, but the first half of this novel suffered from too much set up. It was filled with Cain's characteristic grisly details, but the plot struck me as loose and familiar: Archie struggles with normalcy, mysterious woman who looks like Gretchen moves into his building, Gretchen wants Archie to visit her, and people are brutally murdered--can it possibly be Gretchen? It's hard to fault Cain for doing what works, but I feared she really was running out of new takes on these characters and the series was fizzling.

About the midpoint of the book, however, the payoff started to emerge, and I was hooked. Kill You Twice built slowly, but the second half was a fascinating and thrilling ride that leaves no doubt this series is still going strong.

Favorite passage:  “Do people not do this here?” she asked. “Go around and meet the neighbors? I’m from San Diego, so if this is weird, tell me, so I don’t continue to make a total idiot of myself.”
“Do people do it in San Diego?” Archie asked.
“No,” Rachel said. “But I thought Portland was friendlier.”
“We are,” Archie said. “But we’re also socially awkward. I think they cancel each other out.”

The verdict: Kill You Twice reinvigorates the series and returns to the tension between Archie and Gretchen. A satisfying second half made up for a slow first half, but ultimately this novel feels more like a transition novel than a stand alone. Even though I just finished this one, I'm already eager to read the next one, so get writing Chelsea Cain.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 337 pages
Publication date: August 7, 2012 
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Kill You Twice from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

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  1. OOh I'm reading this one right now! :) I'm about 100 pages in and I've noticed that it isn't moving quite as fast as the other books in the series so I look forward to where you say it picks up.

    I started following Chelsea Cain on FB recently and the manuscript for the next in the series is already done!

  2. I loooooooooooooooooove the cover of this one! I think this book is probably too scary for me -- however, this quote you shared -- “We are,” Archie said. “But we’re also socially awkward. I think they cancel each other out.” -- made me snort coffee everywhere. I do love me some snark!

  3. I haven't experienced these books yet, but I am glad to hear that this one revived itself during the second half. It does sound like a haunting set-up, and I can bet that it would leave me sleeping with the lights on. I wonder if I can get the first book on audio? Great review today, by the way!


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