Two-for-One Review: “HeartSick” and “Sweetheart”

September 18, 2008 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Fiction, Two-for-One Review | Leave a comment

Don’t you just love a good thriller?  I have no idea why, but I sure do.  They scare me, too – I’ve read books I’ve had to lay face down on my nightstand, because the cover art just gave me the heebie-jeebies.  I’ll spook myself and go around checking the locks on the doors and windows.  The phone will ring and I’ll jump halfway out of my skin.  Yet from time to time I’ll pick up another thriller.

I read HeartSick because, of course, it was recommended on the Amazon.com Significant Seven and I’m trying to read them all.  (Not quite halfway yet).  I could see why it was chosen; the characters are quite vivid, there’s a highly unusual psychological dynamic, and it’s well-crafted.  Setting the story in Portland was a good choice because there are few cities that can equal its claustrophobic noir atmosphere.  (Or maybe I just feel that way because I grew up there and I prefer a sunny climate).

Sweetheart picks up a couple of months after HeartSick leaves off.  It introduces a new storyline and wraps up some things from the earlier book.  This adds a level of depth to the story, which is a notch better than HeartSick.  It’s my bet that Chelsea Cain will continue in this vein and join the ranks of the great thriller writers. 

I also think Cain’s next author photo will sport dark hair; she was blonde in the first book, red in the second.  Unless she’ll go for an exotic color?  I’ve been trying to guess a heart-themed title, too.  How about Be Still My Beating Heart or Heart-Shaped Box or HeartlessHeartburn is already taken.

That said, I have to speak my piece about some niggling details.  In HeartSick, Cain’s character claims that the blue heron is Oregon’s state bird.  It’s actually the Western meadowlark, chosen by more states than any other bird except the cardinal.  I thought everyone knew that.  Sheesh.  Then, in Sweetheart, she uses the term ‘free-trade’ when by context she means ‘fair trade.’  If your characters are constantly Googling things, it wouldn’t hurt to, um, Google those minor details.

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