This was a book that I never would have picked up, as I don't generally go for the serial killer murder mystery type stories. But it was one of the Best Books of 2007, on a couple of different lists, so I decided to see what the fuss was about.
The story follows detective Archie Sheridan, who is on medical leave as the book begins, as a result of his encounter with the serial killer Gretchen Lowell, who confessed to dozens of murders after torturing Sheridan for a week. Sheridan is called back on duty when another serial killer begins kidnapping girls, but no one really knows if he can handle it. He and Lowell have a demented relationship still, and he is wounded in more ways than one. The other main character is a columnist for the local paper, Susan Ward. Archie agrees to allow her to profile him for the paper, and in some way he hopes this will help him begin to heal. As they track down the killer, their stories become more and more woven together.
I really liked the characters of Archie and Susan, both written very well. They are rather original and have character details that make them very endearing and knowable to the reader. Cain sets them up to work well together in sequels, which may or may not be written, I haven't heard. The character of Gretchen Lowell is not nearly as original as reviews make her sound. Maybe I just haven't read enough serial killer thrillers to know what is supposed to be original. She almost seems contrived. The story itself, the mystery, is not as mysterious as the reader hopes either. It becomes relatively obvious, and resolves itself in a way that is not entirely original, or even interesting. While the characters of Archie and Susan are intriguing, and the story has potential, it does not live up to it, and I probably will not be looking for a sequel.