Are there female serial killers? I know there have been psychopathic women who have committed multiple murders, sometimes including their own children, but that’s not the same as having a compulsion to kill a series of strangers who have some characteristics in common.
Chelsea Cain’s “HeartSick” is based on the existence of a beautiful, highly intelligent, woman who has killed dozens of girls (no other common characteristics mentioned), enlisting men to help her. As a grande finale, she kidnaps and tortures the detective in charge of the team looking for her. After nearly killing him, she gives him emergency medical treatment and turns herself in. She apparently doesn’t mind being imprisoned for life as long as she knows that she has damaged this detective so much, both physically and psychologically, that he lives in constant pain and can never forget her.
The existence of female serial killers aside, this is such an unbelievable story line that a lesser writer wouldn’t have been able to make a decent book out of it. Added to that, the descriptions of the torture inflicted on the unfortunate detective are so detailed and graphic that I stopped reading them, in keeping with my philosophy that real life is quite gruesome enough all by itself.
The beautiful psycho takes up a lot of pages, but there is an entire murder mystery that doesn’t depend on her, even though Cain halfheartedly ties her in at the end. This parallel mystery involves a garden variety male serial killer, the same detective, and a cute young reporter, and made a good read.