Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
With the Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Archie Sheridan--a Portland police detective and nearly one of her victims--can finally rest a little easier. Meanwhile, the rest of the city of Portland is in crisis. Heavy rains have flooded the Willamette River, and several people have drowned in the quickly rising waters. Or at least that's what they thought until the medical examiner discovers that the latest victim didn't drown: She was poisoned before she went into the water. Soon after, three of those drownings are also proven to be murders. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case.
Reporter Susan Ward is chasing this story of a new serial killer with gusto, but she's also got another lead to follow for an entirely separate mystery: The flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died more than sixty years ago, the last time Portland flooded this badly, when the water washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least fifteen people.
With Archie following the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch a killer and possibly regain his life, and Susan Ward close behind, Chelsea Cain--one of today's most talented suspense writers--launches the next installment of her bestselling series with an electric thriller.
River levels are high in Portland when a woman walking her dog comes across the skeleton of a young black man, murdered over sixty years ago. Journalist, Susan Ward investigates. Meanwhile, Detective Archie Sheridan and his team have turned their attention to child-killer Ryan Motley, trained by the notorious Gretchen Lowell. The task force must pursue a series of mysterious clues from Gretchen, one of which leads to a Vanport flood survivor, who happens to be the grandfather of a murdered child. Then, when another child is found murdered, Archie's investigation takes on a new urgency.
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Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Portland, OR, is shutting down owing to torrential rains and rising floodwaters, but Det. Archie Sheridan can't come in because the dead body count is rising quickly, too. Conventional wisdom says these are drowning victims, but when colleague Henry Sobol is felled by a toxin, we realize a serial killer has devised yet another exotic means of death. Intrepid journalist Susan Ward thinks the victims are tied to the historic floods of 1948, and when the clues fall into place, Archie realizes she's right again. Fighting the weather and a crafty killer means they have to win this one the hard way-by swimming. The team continues to be haunted by their nemesis Gretchen Lowell, the so-called Beauty Killer, but her influence is minimal in Cain's fourth Archie Sheridan novel (Heartsick; Sweetheart; Evil at Heart), and this brings a certain freshness to the story line. VERDICT Perfect for readers who want to mix true crime history with their contemporary serial killers, as in Lisa Black's Trail of Blood or Michael Harvey's The Third Rail. The pace is as relentless as the floodwaters engulfing Portland. Buy heavily and enjoy recommending this to new Cain fans. [150,000-copy first printing; library marketing.]-Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., Fairfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
If Cain's new crime novel is to be believed, you don't want to be in Portland, Ore., when the Willamette River rises over its banks. Spunky reporter Susan Ward and depressed police detective Archie Sheridan spend most of the book slogging through slush or swimming for their lives while on the track of a serial killer who uses incurable octopi toxin to dispatch his victims. Putting Archie's homicidal paramour Gretchen Lowell behind bars has allowed Cain to reinvigorate the series, which includes bringing the likable Susan to the fore. This not only makes for a snappier story, it takes advantage of Christina Delaine's inspired interpretation of the ditsy, self-effacing, surprisingly professional reporter and intuitive sleuth. Her sotto voce, monotone Archie is on the money, too. He sounds as if he's still a long way from recovering from the mental and physical damage caused by Lowell. Near the book's end, Susan is locked in the killer's basement with a dead policeman, up to her waist in river water stocked with the deadly mollusks. Author and narrator combine to make it a memorably chilling moment in one of the series' better entries. A Minotaur hardcover. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Devoted readers of Cain's superb Archie Sheridan novels, starring the Portland, Oregon, police detective, have known all along that eventually the series would have to stand on its own without the mesmerizing presence of serial killer Gretchen Lowell, with whom Archie shares the quintessential love-hate relationship. But can Cain pull it off? Yes, indeed. As the novel begins, Portland is threatened by the worst flood since 1948, when the town of Vanport, just north of the city, was wiped from the map. Cain skillfully incorporates the details of the real-life Vanport flood into her story, which centers on the murders of a random group of victims who have been bitten by a rare breed of venomous octopus. The floodwaters continue to rise as Archie and reporter Susan Ward, elevated here from scene-stealing supporting player to full-fledged costar, track the killer and a boy he has apparently kidnapped. In the earlier books, Cain pinned readers to their seats with a unique mix of horror, black humor, and psychological tension. This time she adds another arrow to her narrative quiver: the interplay between landscape and mood. This may be the best thriller set in a flooding city since Donna Leon's Acqua Alta (1996). The enveloping floodwaters are every bit as terrifying as the octopus-toting killer (many of the key action scenes take place in or under the black water), and the river itself takes on a kind of evil persona, a superhuman antagonist of unfathomable power. Who knew it would take the Willamette River to prove that Chelsea Cain doesn't need Gretchen Lowell?--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Finally free, at least physically, of his former lover and crazed torturer, Gretchen Lowell, who's behind bars, Portland Detective Archie Sheridan vies with a slightly more mundane serial killer in Cain's latest installment in the series (Heartsick, 2007, etc.).Where do you go as a mystery writer after your beautiful, smart, cruelly amusing main attraction has pulled out all psychotic stops in making your star detective's life an unrelieved hell? Inthis volume, Cain gives Gretchen a breather and replaces her with a largely unseen male menace. Accompanied by a nine-year-old boy who was stolen from his parents 18 months ago, this serial killer carries around small, blue-ringed octopuses in baggies, subjects his victims to their poisonous bites and tosses the corpses in the river. The killings begin after the discovery of a skeleton points back to the Vanport flood of 1948, which wiped out an entire public-housing project and claimed the lives of many residents who were tardily warned by authorities of the impending disaster. Sixty-two years later, with the overflowing Willamette River about to wreak havoc on Portland, two people close to the still-shaky Sheridan are touched by the octopus killer's evil: Henry Sobol, a fellow cop, and Susan Ward, a hungry crime columnist with wild hair. Compared to the Gretchen Lowell books, there's nothing else particularly wild aboutthis novel.But the story is deftly handled, the suspense is plentiful and Cain's evocation of the gloomy atmosphere and Portland setting is superb. Gretchen fans will be pleased when she shows up at the end and with a glance tells us we haven't seen the last of her, but this novel does an excellent job of killing time until then.A strong and satisfying, if less extreme, outing from the new queen of serial-killer fiction.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.