- Festival of Flowers – Pioneer Courthouse SquarePosted 20 hours ago
- Sidewalk Sale – Mabel & ZoraPosted 3 days ago
- Portland Fashion & Style Awards – Accepting NominationsPosted 9 days ago
- OBJECT FOCUS: THE BOWL and SOUNDFORGEPosted 17 days ago
- Gallery Artists Spread Cultural Influence Far and WidePosted 19 days ago
- RAW – Art ShowcasePosted 23 days ago
- BODYVOX’S “FIFTEEN” CAPS A SEASON OF CELEBRATIONPosted 24 days ago
- 24th Annual CAP Art Auction Raised $640,000Posted 24 days ago
- Pacific Pie Co. Announces ExpansionPosted 24 days ago
- Parent of the Year to Release BookPosted 25 days ago
Chelsea Cain – Stumptown’s Serial Thriller
on March 8, 2012
Climbing the concrete stairs to “the house that Heartsick bought,” you may step around a child-sized mass lying discarded on the porch. The pale violet coloration may be due to the ever-wintry nights, besides, who knows how long it has been neglected since the rains began.
But, upon closer inspection, it may just be the purple bicycle of a six-year-old girl, the kind that might have a clamorous bell and a white basket affixed to the front. As soon as you notice a pair of training wheels on a nearby patio table, the excited yips of two ankle-snorting Boston terriers greet you through the glass door.
Welcome to the petrifying, SE Portland house of New York Times bestseller and thriller author Chelsea Cain.
Penning gruesome tales of serial killers, Cain has written four bestselling thrillers in her Gretchen Lowell Series, but she points out that she may be the only “serial killer fiction” writer who does so with a pink Disney pop-up palace in the corner of her third-floor, attic office. Publishing almost a book a year since 2007’s debut Heartsick, Cain likes to refer to her genre as “detective fiction,” and with her fifth book now completed, she’s already beginning to nurture the seeds of book six, ready to “watch it grow,” as she puts it. “There’s not a story I want to tell any more than this one,” she swears.
But remember, her four-part series which also includes Sweetheart, Evil At Heart, and The Night Season, is the sadistic saga of a psychopathic, violent, female serial killer (named after her childhood elementary school) and the cops who hunt her—all conceived by a smiling, sociable wife and mother. But it’s possible that these all-too-common designations make Cain even more apt to write murderous thrillers… along with a few other peculiarities.
A childhood adoration of Nancy Drew alone will not craft a serial thriller. More morbid childhood fascinations with forensic pathology and disturbing medical texts help, but so does having a “formative serial killer of your youth” and presiding over the neighborhood pet cemetery. Cain’s thrillers are engulfing page-turners with a cinematic quality, which she calls her “big love letter” to British cop shows. So when she says, “My life is very much defined by movies, and also by TV shows, good and bad,” she means it. She married her local video store clerk and there’s a Gretchen Lowell film in the works. She has the ability to “get away with a lot” while terrorizing her audience just enough to enthrall, crafting thrillers that are guilty pleasures for all parties involved.
A NW native, spending her childhood in Bellingham, WA, Cain first came to Portland under “dark and muddy” circumstances when her mother’s cancer had metastasized. After trying to leave on several occasions, she’s not only found a home in Portland but also the setting for her bestselling thrillers—from the isolated corners of Forest Park to the flooding Willamette River.
“I had to come back enough times that I was choosing it rather than circumstances forcing it on me,” explains Cain.