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Onyx reviews: Let Me Go
Halloween is approaching and Gretchen Lowell costumes are all the rage. The
task force trying to locate her after her most recent escape think she's long
gone, but Archie Sheridan knows that the beautiful serial
killer won't stay away for long. She's not through with him yet, and perhaps never
will be. Besides, she could hardly be expected to miss his birthday. What sort
of gift will she give him this year? Another scar? And what does his
no-strings-attached downstairs neighbor Rachel have in mind for the occasion?
His main concern at the beginning of Let Me Go, the sixth book in the
series, is the murder of a DEA
agent, one of the men handling Leo Reynolds, the son of a local drug lord who is
now working undercover inside the organization. Archie's afraid the murder means Leo's cover has been blown but the young man, who is now dating Archie's protégé,
former reporter Susan Ward, is intent on seeing his mission through to the end.
He's very close, he claims, to wrapping the entire organization up and
delivering it to the Feds, tied up with a neat bow.
Leo is off the radar, so Archie and Susan independently decide to make
contact by going to a huge masked ball on Reynolds' private island. Because of
the high security, Archie can't wear a wire, so he's flying solo. The bizarre
party ends with Archie unconscious, missing several hours of the night. The next
day, the body of a young woman Archie encountered at the party is found near the
island. Archie thinks Gretchen Lowell is involved, but it isn't until
security footage from the party shows up that he discovers (to his horror or
delight?) how involved she was.
Archie's relationship with this serial killer—she was his lover when she was
part of the task force trying to discover who was responsible for the murders
she was committing—has always been complex. The affair (shown in more intimate
detail than ever before in flashbacks) broke up his marriage, but he's still
obsessed with her and she still has the power to seduce him, even after she
kidnapped and tortured him, removing his spleen (a detail that has a surprising
payoff here). He's still a member of the task force, but it's not
clear that he really wants to capture her, and he most definitely does not want
to see her killed. Something about her domination and the pain she likes to
inflict on him, even during sex, excites him. He's playing a dangerous game with
the heavy-duty prescription pharmaceuticals that caused him trouble in the
Gretchen's birthday gift is a huge surprise, paying off something Cain set up
in the previous book. However, she has a second gift for Archie: she wants to help him catch the person who killed the
partygoer. To guarantee his cooperation, she takes Susan hostage,
leading to a twisty, turny adventure in underground tunnels once used by
rumrunners. Archie's body suffers more physical abuse and Gretchen has her own
with a number of dangerous men before all is said and done.
This is a fast-paced, brutal, gory, gripping, and occasionally tense novel
that makes for a quick read. It's not perfect, though. Cain's reliance on
coincidence can stretch credibility at times, and Gretchen is too clever to be
real. Can't she make a mistake every
now and then?
Isn't there someone who's too powerful for her to take on or who can get—even
temporarily—the upper hand? The resolution
of the murder of the DEA agent, the event that launches the novel, is less than
satisfactory, too. Cain also has a tendency toward repetition. Does everyone who
comments about Archie's captivity have to state that it was precisely ten days?
Couldn't someone say "nearly two weeks"?
The book takes
Gretchen and Archie's relationship to the next level. Both have moral compasses
that are in constant drift and one of these days when they're together their
red-hot affair is going to set off a nuclear explosion. More important, though, is the developing relationship between Archie and
Susan. The age difference is significant but readers are likely cheering them
on. The connection between them is strong, and they have one scene of close
physical contact that affects them both, plus a resolution that puts them in a
comfortable place. It's nearing time for them to "get a room," or at
least admit the mutual affection and see where it goes. Gretchen will always be
a thorn in their sides, but they shouldn't let a sociopath get between them.
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