Original review: http://onabookbender.com/2012/10/15/review-heartsick-chelsea-cain3.5In a weird way, Archie reminds me of the J.P Beaumont of J.A. Jance’s series. Of course, J.P. marries a murderer rather than being kidnapped (and then released) by one, but the twisted feelings are there. Despite Archie being a central character, he is closed off to us readers, only letting us see certain things about himself–much like how he controls the information that Susan, a reporter writing a feature on him, receives.Heartsick is set up so that we get snippets of Archie’s time with Gretchen before she released him tucked in between the current serial killer case. I found that even though we were getting the information, there was still a lot left unsaid or untouched. Either we were supposed to fill in blanks, or there will be more information in the next few books (I’m hoping for the latter, actually). Other than knowing Gretchen is one messed up person, we don’t truly know much about her. And she is fascinating enough to want to know why she is the way she is.The current serial killer case doesn’t necessarily strike me as a “thriller”; the thriller is more in Archie and Gretchen’s relationship and how it affects the case. I was also intrigued in Susan–the reporter–and her story. Her role in Heartsick is…never quite what it seems on the surface. I believe she continues to play a part in future stories, so I think it will be interesting to see how that develops.And I don’t quite think a review would be complete without mentioning the setting. In some ways, Portland plays its own role in this story, as vibrant (or dreary, as the case may be) as if we were there ourselves. Chelsea Cain brings Portland alive much the same way that Karin Slaughter does with Atlanta. You feel you’re there, and that is not something that many authors can achieve with real live cities.Overall, Heartsick is an intriguing mystery that actually depends more on its characters than the mystery itself. I look forward to seeing what becomes of all our players–the game is far from over.