In Sweetheart, Archie Sheridan is on a case of a murder that oddly resembles his very first murder case and the very first victim which tied him with the Beauty Killer. Archie thought he was getting his life back on track, but having moved in back with his wife, and spending time with his kids, he still doesn’t feel great about himself. Gretchen Lowell is still looming over his shoulder. Suddenly there is a big break in the case with the help of Susan Ward yet all that is put aside as Gretchen escapes from prison. Now this time, Archie will put a plan to capture Gretchen and get himself out from her control for good.
Well, I thought the book had really great parts, where it was thrilling and parts where there were quite a few surprises uncovered, but the book just didn’t really live up to the first one. I thought the first one was much more engaging and had a very complete, full plot. Sweetheart though, I’m not sure what to say about it. The plot just seemed to stagnate and it seemed to pick up a little towards the end but it just didn’t have the same fast thrilling ride like the other one.
Gretchen still hasn’t changed, she’s still the same psychotic “Hannibal Lecter” we all have come to know since Heartsick. Although, there’s just something about her that I can’t seem quite to understand and grasp. True, she’s a villain but I’ve read other ones that would easily take the “Crown of Evil” away in a heartbeat. Perhaps it’s because there’s not much information about her yet, I’m not sure. She just feels so “wooden” but it’s as if the author has tried a little too hard to make her a villain and instead the result is a stagnant villain with a dysfunctional relationship with Archie and it’s puzzling. There’s no feeling from her, no “flesh” to her I guess, she seems entirely two dimensional. I don’t know what to say about Archie. I don’t understand what he’s trying to do with Gretchen. On the other hand, it seems he wants to be with her but knows it’s wrong but does it anyway yet somehow “covers” it up by trying to recapture her (at least, in my opinion it sure looks that way). It’s this rather strange chemistry between these two that I don’t quite get and it seems to put a bit of a damper on the book.
The case with the Senator and the underage teen was interesting, but it just seemed so out of place with the main Gretchen/Archie plot that it looked like it was meant as a page filler for the novel. Thankfully though, the chapters were short so it felt as if you could read through the book quickly and easily.
Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t so bad. However I thought it could be so much better. The thrilling action bits were good and nearly redeemed the book but it just wasn’t enough. I’m really hoping the third one after this will do the job and not be a giant snowball going downhill. The ending was really good and was left in a cliffhanger, but I really hope this relationship/obsession between Archie and Gretchen does somewhat come to a closure, it’s just too dysfunctional for me.
overall, I’m not sure what to say. It was good, yet in so many ways it could have been better. It’s a fast read with short chapters so it can be easily breezed through. It’s a “must read” though, if you want to get through the Gretchen Lowell series.
I give it a 6 out of 10.