Cain is able

Four-fifths of the way through Chelsea Cain’s “Heart Sick,” my shoulders sagged and I went, “Ah, dammit.” That’s because she appeared to fall back onto the weak writer’s crutch: Coincidence.

The operative word there was appeared.

OK: First backgrounder. I hadn’t read Chelsea’s 2007 thriller because it’s about serial killers. And frankly, prime time TV had ruined that medium for me. For a while there, network TV offered two or three serial killers per night on a wide array of repetitive cop dramas. Yawn

But then I went to Bouchercon – the World Mystery Convention – in Indianapolis and I met Chelsea Cain and she turned out to be as friendly and funny as she is stunning and smart. So now I’m thinking: dang, gotta read her book.

Which got me to the sagging shoulders and the dammit. And the coincidence.

OK: Second backgrounder. When creating a fictional story, it is OK to use coincidence in Act I, but not in Act II or III. Your heroine can stumble into a mystery but she absolutely cannot stumble into the solution. That’s cheating.

I will not give away the ending of “Heart Sick” but I will tell you: Chelsea fooled me. Completely. And I devour mysteries, so I am not an easy reader to fool.

The day I finished “Heart Sick” I walked to Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland’s Multnomah Village to buy the sequel, “Sweetheart.”

Nicely done, Ms. Cain.

About danahaynes

Dana Haynes is the author of ICE COLD KILL (2013), BREAKING POINT (2011) and CRASHERS (2010) from Minotaur and St. Martin's Press.

Posted on November 25, 2009, in Blog and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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