Blurb: Nothing makes Portland detective Archie Sheridan happier than knowing that Gretchen Lowell—the serial killer whose stunning beauty is belied by the gruesome murders she’s committed—is locked away in a psych ward. Archie can finally heal from the near-fatal physical and emotional wounds she’s inflicted on him and start moving on with his life.
To this end, Archie throws himself into the latest case to come across his desk: A cyclist has discovered a corpse in Mount Tabor Park on the eastern side of Portland. The man was gagged, skinned, and found hanging by his wrists from a tree. It’s the work of a killer bold and clever enough to torture his victim for hours on a sunny summer morning in a big public park and yet leave no trace.
And then Archie gets a message he can’t ignore—Gretchen claims to have inside knowledge about this grisly murder. Archie finally agrees to visit Gretchen, because he can’t risk losing his only lead in the case. At least, that’s what he tells himself . . . but the ties between Archie and Gretchen have always been stronger, deeper, and more complex than he’s willing to admit, even to himself. What game is she playing this time? And even more frightening, what long-hidden secrets from Gretchen’s past have been dredged up that someone would kill to protect?
I think this might be the end of the line for me regarding this series. While the premise is original and compelling—male detective develops twisted yet romantic relationship with female serial killer—I think that aspect of the series has been played out. While I do still enjoy the relationship between Archie and Gretchen, the increasingly contrived means by which Cain forces them into face-to-face confrontations requires a little too much in the way of suspended disbelief for me to enjoy them. In my review of The Night Season, book four in the series, I said, “As much as I enjoyed the interplay between Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell in the previous books, it was starting to feel forced and I didn’t think the author could sustain a series based purely on their relationship.” Unfortunately, this proved to be true in Kill You Twice. By the end of the book my main reaction was eye-rolling; it was like watching a Hollywood movie that was big on explosions, thin on story.
My rating: 2 stars