Six best-selling novels in six years is impressive by any standard. But every entry in Chelsea Cain’s Sheridan/Lowell series is uniformly excellent, and Let Me Go (August 13; Minotaur Books) is no exception. No doubt Cain’s batting average has other authors squirming with envy.
It’s been 10 weeks since the events of Kill You Twice, and with prodigious serial killer Gretchen Lowell once again on the loose, half-broken detective Archie Sheridan attempts to find distraction by tackling another case. Undercover DEA agent Leo––a fringe player in the previous novels––has gotten himself into one hell of a mess with his mobbed up father, and it’s up to Archie to dig him out. As always, Cain is a masterful plotter––there are murders and mob parties, blackouts and blowjobs, and it’s all loads of fun to try to figure out. But through all the tangential mayhem, Cain knows that the increasingly twisted relationship between Gretchen and Archie is what readers crave. And with Let Me Go, she really delivers.
As the series has progressed, Cain has occasionally taken the Dexter approach––pushing the Gretchen/Archie dynamic to the background as she utilizes her supporting cast to explore a case-of-the-week. For those who read the series solely for the depraved central relationship, these moments can be frustrating. But all of the character development really pays off with Let Me Go, as Cain’s minor players truly take on a life of their own. As usual, Cain brings her fiendish sense of humor to the party, as well as the sort of totally cool investigative details that come from good research. Hell, at this point I’d be happy to read Cain’s shopping list. With her increasingly excellent Heartsick series, and Gretchen and Archie in particular, she has created a fully formed literary universe full of characters that are real, raw, and flawed. Here’s hoping Chelsea Cain never lets any of them go.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Skulls