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August 18, 2013 / schulerbooks

Let Me Go, by Chelsea Cain

9780312619817

Years ago, when Detective Archie Sheridan was heading up the “Beauty Killer” taskforce, he developed a strange relationship with a local crime lord.

Jack Reynolds was well-heeled criminal scum, of course. But at the time, with one of his daughters dead at the hands of the depraved serial killer that Sheridan was trying to catch, the two men formed a bond of sorts — the kind of understanding that crosses the boundaries of law and order. If anything, that bond was strengthened when Archie was captured by the Beauty Killer (aka Gretchen Lowell) and then tortured, killed, and brought back to life at her lovely, expert hands.  And that relationship has lasted to this day, in spite of Reynolds’ having slid further into crime and perfidy.

An unusual intimacy, perhaps. But, as Archie’s a man who’s sometimes more dead than alive, and can’t help but love his deadliest nemesis (Gretchen Lowell), but won’t accept love from someone who genuinely cares about him (Susan, the dogged reporter), what’s one more contradictory kinship on the pile? Especially now that Gretchen’s escaped, yet again (in Kill You Twice) and could be anywhere, planning all sorts of fiendish things.

In the wake of that dangerous development, Archie may need all the strange friends he can get.

This makes things just a little more interesting when a certain DEA Agent gets shot and killed, just before Halloween. It turns out this Agent was the liaison for Jack’s son, Leo, who’s working with the Feds to bring down his father’s crime empire from the inside. The murder has the look of a hit, which means that someone might have been on to him, which means that someone might now be on to Leo.

So Archie lets himself get dragged into the matter, both by the FBI and Susan (who’s been dating Leo for some time). This entails him relying on his relationship to get out to Jack’s private island for a massive, decadent party.  He’s not sure what he’s going to find when he gets there, or what he might do with it, but he knows he’s got to do something, if only to make sure Leo’s still okay, or get him out of there if he’s not.

But while Archie is there, something happens. That “something” results in him not remembering the events of the night after a certain point, which is really bad because someone wound up dying on that island during the party.

And there’s a chance that Gretchen might just be involved…

To say more would be to rob this excellent thriller of some of its turns and spills, which would be utterly criminal. However, it goes without saying that the excellent Archie/Gretchen love/hate/kill dynamic that has fueled almost all of Cain’s work since Heartsick is back in full effect, here. Plot threads that have been building over the last few novels come to a head, here, and the results are bloody good.

Once again, Chelsea Cain has crafted a tense, all-too-human thriller that isn’t afraid to shock and arouse in equal measure, while exploring the stranger corners of the human heart.

Let Me Go is out in hardcover, now, and available at most Schuler Books and Music locations.

– Jim Tremlett, Eastwood

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