Book Review: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

by - 2:58:00 PM

Title: Stillhouse Lake
Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 300
Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: 01 July 2017
From Goodreads: "Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.
With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.
But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop."

Thank you to Ashley Vanicek and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

Taking a moment to be super unprofessional but oh my gosh Rachel Caine has a new book and it's fantastic and I will forever cherish the beautiful ARC that I refuse to put anywhere but on my desk next to me. Seriously, Rachel Caine is my favorite author and I have yet to read anything by her that isn't absolutely fantastic. Stillhouse Lake is creepy and thrilling and keeps you guessing until the end and by that point, you're on the edge of your seat rooting for Gwen as hard as you can.

Plot:
Gina Royal is an average midwestern housewife with two kids she loves and a relatively happy marriage. That is, until a car crashes into the side of her house and reveals her husband's secret life as a serial killer. Four years later, Gina Royal is now Gwen Proctor- warrior mom. Now living in Stillhouse Lake, and keeping a constant watchful eye on the plethora of internet trolls and stalkers, Gwen thinks that her kids can finally grow up in peace. But just as she's getting used to the idea of calling Stillhouse Lake home, a body turns up in the lake and threatening letters start turning up from a familiar address. Keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is difficult when you can't tell who is who, but Gwen is willing to do whatever she has to in order to keep her kids safe. One thing is for sure, she knows how to fight evil now, and she won't ever stop.

Boy oh boy did I absolutely love this book. Like I said above, Rachel Caine is my favorite author so I knew I was in for a treat with Stillhouse Lake. I was absolutely glued to the pages from start to finish! It was such a thrill ride filled with creepy characters, beautiful descriptions of the town, and a wonderful unknown feeling that I couldn't get enough of. I really liked how you got to see Gina at the beginning on the day of the accident and how completely different she is from Gwen. Gina is timid, non-confrontational and loves her husband whereas Gwen is strong, not afraid to get in your face, and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her husband as far away from her and her kids as possible. It's such a drastic change but it was one that I think readers needed to see in order to understand why Gwen became the person she did. This was just such a great thriller that really spent its time building up the suspense and never felt like it was dragging on or had hit a slow spot. It was very well balanced, never focusing too hard on one thing or another, but giving everything a chance to shine.

Characters:
I have to start this off by saying that Mel was the creepiest character in this entire book. He had very quick appearances in just a few scenes, but he left an unforgettable impression. I think it had to do with the way that Gwen talked about him. He was very good at playing "normal" and hiding his serial killer tendencies. If a car hadn't crashed into the house, Gwen would have never known what her husband truly was. How terrifying is it to think that literally anyone you know could be a serial killer, but they're so good at hiding it and playing at being normal that you'd never know? That's something that really stuck with me about this book. Rachel Caine did such a fantastic job at planting that thought and making it grow. You learn over the course of the book just how twisted Mel really was towards Gwen at several points in their marriage, but she never really knew something was off until the accident. He had small slip ups every so often, but was able to turn it around and continue playing pretend. It was just such a creepy aspect of his character and definitely stuck with me well after I finished the book!

Gwen was hands down my favorite character in this book. Where Mel creeped me out, Gwen gave me strength. I really love that she was such a strong, powerful female and mother to her children. She was willing to do any and everything in order to keep them safe and it was so great to have someone like her as the main character. I do feel like she had a tendency to trust people a bit too easily, which I didn't understand, but she was still a great character.

The side characters in this book were also pretty fantastic. You get to meet a pretty wide variety of people that live in this town and you suspect all of them. Following Gwen, you start to develop this feeling that no one can be trusted, not even the police, and I got that feeling about absolutely everyone. But they were all so unique and definitely gave off the small town resident feeling. I will be honest, there are two "twists" in Stillhouse Lake and I didn't see either of them coming. It was a great surprise to be reading and then all of a sudden have the "NO WAY" realization that makes you want to keep flipping the pages as fast as you can!

Writing:
For me, the sign of a good thriller is when I'm so into my book that every little noise that happens around me makes me jump. Seriously, it happened. I was on the edge of my seat for a large portion of the book and found myself rooting for Gwen, even when it came to the little things. The world of Stillhouse Lake felt so real to me and I could easily picture every little detail that she wrote about. Even the gross descriptions of the dead bodies! Her writing just feels so authentic and it's so easy to just fall into this book and follow Gwen as she tries to figure out what's going on and protect her kids. There's an unsettling feeling that follows you as you read this book and I feel like that really aided in the suspense and surprise of the ending. You don't know who to trust, or who is out to hurt Gwen and her kids. There are bodies showing up in the lake and malicious letters in the mail. It starts slow and really builds up as the book goes on, and I could not get enough of the spooky, unknown feeling that this book gave me. The writing provided a great overall suspenseful feeling, the characters were all unique and stood out as individuals, and the descriptions of the town, it's surroundings, and everything in between were vivid and beautiful. It all adds up to make the thrilling experience that is Stillhouse Lake.

If you're looking for a new thriller to read that is full of suspense, has an incredibly strong female main character, and writing that will have you looking over your shoulder, then Stillhouse Lake is the book for you. Be sure to grab a copy when it releases on 01 July 2017!


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