Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain

March 9, 2014

kill you twice Plot summary (from the publisher): Nothing makes Portland detective Archie Sheridan happier than knowing that Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell 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. Or can he? His latest case, involving a man who was mutilated and murdered in a public park in broad daylight, bears the stamp of an expert killer…and before long, Archie gets a message from Gretchen, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

Gretchen claims to have inside knowledge about the grisly Mount Tabor Park murder—and Archie can’t risk losing his only lead in the case. At least, that’s what he tells himself after he agrees to visit Gretchen…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 Gretchen playing this time? And even more frightening, what long-hidden secrets from her past have been dredged up that someone would kill to protect?

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • Susan Ward was once again the strongest character in the book. She far outshines Archie at this point, and I find her scenes to be much more interesting than anything he’s involved in. That kind of shows you how far Archie has fallen.
  • Leo’s secret is finally out! So now Susan realizes she’s dating an undercover DEA agent instead of a “lawyer” whose father is a major drug kingpin. Leo got to break the news in spectacular fashion too, by busting in on the church standoff at the end and rescuing everybody. I liked that scene.
  • The case in this book was actually fairly intriguing. The killer was obviously motivated by Gretchen, but I couldn’t quite figure out their connection, which kept me turning the pages.
  • It was good to finally get some of Gretchen’s backstory, though the troubled, abused, pregnant teen/foster kid angle wasn’t very original.


  • I didn’t believe for one second that some hot young thing would prance around in a bikini and practically throw herself at Archie. Seriously? Yeah, I get that some women like “damaged goods”, but this Rachel character was going way too far. In fact, I thought she might have been Gretchen’s daughter and was knowingly seducing Archie to fuck with his head a little more — that’s how unbelievable the whole scenario was.
  • And speaking of women who have no business being attracted to Archie, why would Susan still want him now that she has Leo and knows about Leo’s good side? Ugh, it doesn’t make sense! What makes it even worse, of course, is that Archie is “still not over” Gretchen. GAG!!!!
  • So Gretchen escapes from yet another detention facility. Good god, this is getting old! Yes, this time she had help from a police officer, so it was slightly more believable than the time she got her shrink to fall under her spell (cue eye-roll), but still. It just makes everyone connected to Portland law enforcement look stunningly incompetent.
  • Want even more proof of their incompetence? Knowing that this serial killer is out on the loose, they still allow her enough space to meet with Archie? WTF?! The meeting point was supposedly “surrounded” by snipers and SWAT units, but — surprise, surprise! — Gretchen manages to slip through the perimeter simply by causing an explosive device to go off. Why, oh WHY would the police let Gretchen lounge around in the grass with Archie having a lengthy, casual chat AND NOT MOVE IN UNTIL SHE WAS READY TO LEAVE??? It’s not like they needed to wait for her to confess to something!!
  • Of course now that Gretchen is on the loose, there’s going to be at least one more book about her and Archie. Sigh. Let’s hope the series ends there, because Cain has milked the “relationship” between Archie and Gretchen long enough. The whole situation already strains credibility, and prolonging the farce isn’t going to do much good. Keep Archie and Susan, lose Gretchen, and get some new antagonists in the mix.
  • Although I did like new murder case, I thought it was a bit too convenient that both the killer and his small-town sheriff sister were operating under false identities and were in fact Gretchen’s old foster siblings.


Kill You Twice was quite a step up from the previous two books in the Archie Sheridan-Gretchen Lowell series, and had a number of positive points that made it an interesting enough read. That said, Gretchen Lowell has overstayed her welcome and ought to be dealt with once and for all. It’s time for Archie — and author Cain — to move on from her. I give this one 3 stars out of 5.

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