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I read Chelsea Cain’s Heartsick last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I did figure out the murderer halfway through. *sigh* One of these days, crime novels will start surprising me again. The sequel, Sweetheart, focuses a lot more on the relationship between cop Archie Sheridan and prisoner Gretchen Lowell, the serial killer who infiltrated her own murder investigation (as in, the investigation into her murders, not…oh, you know what I mean).

I found Gretchen a lot less terrifying in this book, probably because the background we get on her and Archie humanises her a lot more – we see her more as a manipulative, messed-up woman than a serial killer, even though she still gets a decent body count. I wasn’t overly happy about the greater detail that Cain goes into about their shared past – it demystifies it for me, and there were certain aspects that I felt were a little cliched and I had been expecting her to avoid.

Susan, the plucky girl reporter and sometimes sidekick of Archie, is sidelined a lot more in this book – it’s his story, not hers (that was Heartsick), but we still get some fabulous scenes between her and her mother, Bliss Mountain, as well as an insight into the harsh realities of her journalism career.

Sweetheart is billed as being part of ‘The Gretchen Lowell Series’, which implies there are more books to come. Certainly Sweetheart gives the impression of paving the way for further adventures – it’s filling in the gaps, giving us a deeper impression of the characters – but at the end of the day, I want more from my crime novels than several hundred pages of exposition with a funky cover.