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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake (edition 2017)

by Rachel Caine (Author)

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533221,808 (3.93)3
Title:Stillhouse Lake
Authors:Rachel Caine (Author)
Info:Thomas & Mercer (2017), 302 pages
Collections:2017, June, Your library, Reviewed, Kindle
Tags:Kindle First, Review, Suspense

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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

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This very tense thriller tells the story of a woman who was married to a serial killer but had no idea of his crimes. After being acquitted of being an accomplice, Gina Royal who has now renamed herself Gwen Proctor has fled with her children to get away from the "good" people who are constantly harassing them because they feel she must have known what her husband was doing.

Gwen has uprooted her two kids a number of times when the harassers got too close but now has come to settle on remote Stillhouse Lake in Tennessee. She is ready to pick up her kids and run at any time but hopes, primarily for her kids' welfare, not to have to run again. She is tentatively making some contacts with the guy who runs the gun range and another guy who is renting a cabin for a few months to write a book. Otherwise her only contact is online with a man named Absalom who helps her when she needs to check out some new contact or start a new identity.

She is getting settled in when a body is found in the lake and she becomes a person of interest in a crime again. It becomes even worse when a second body is found. She is under suspicion from the police who bring her in for questioning and she doesn't know who she can trust. Her main focus is to protect her children. She will do anything to keep them safe.

This story gives a very chilling picture of what it would be like to be accused of a crime you didn't commit but to be convicted by the court of public opinion. The descriptions of the vitriolic messages she gets from people who don't know her but have condemned her anyway were chilling. The fear that those people wouldn't be satisfied with venting their spleen via social media would terrify any parent.

I couldn't put this one down and read it in one day. I'll be looking forward to seeing what happens next because this one had a cliffhanger ending. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jun 19, 2017 |
Gina was a naive young woman married to the perfect man with two beautiful children. Then one day, the fairy tale ended and her husband is revealed to be a serial killer. How did she not know? She wanted everything to be perfect, so only saw the good and never questioned. Now she is on the run, not from the law, but from all the haters who believe she is as guilty as her husband. From the first page straight through to the end, the book is impossible to put down! ( )
  aztwinmom | Jun 9, 2017 |
Rachel Caine is a gifted writer. Her storytelling evokes emotion, not just allowing me to feel the characters' emotions, but ensuring I have no choice. Her ability to weave suspense put me on edge, my muscles tense in anticipation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the originality of this story. We rarely see things from the perspective of the killer's family in the aftermath of his destruction. This is a fascinating look at human nature, both in the family's desperation to come to terms with the new reality of their lives and in the way society judges, condemns, and persecutes them.

So I should have loved this book. In fact I did, in many respects. But at the end I'm left grumbling with annoyance.

Before I get to what is, for me, the major flaw, there are two minor irritants to mention. First, the prologue is written in third person, from Gina's perspective, yet the rest of the book is written in first person. I can only assume the reasoning was to put distance between Gina before she knew about her husband, and Gina, who became Gwen, after the event. That's just my assumption, and the author could have had a completely different reason. I found it odd but not troubling. Some readers, however, might sample this book, find it's written in third person, buy it, and be irritated to find it's written in first person. I know some readers don't like first person storytelling.

Second, the entire plot relies on us believing that Gina never, not even once, stepped into her garage, which was her husband's workshop and, apparently, killing ground. I can't imagine a scenario in which I wouldn't, at some point, have the need to go ask my husband something or the desire to see what he was doing. There were also two young children who must have been well trained in leaving dad alone. This part was a bit of a leap for me, but not so much that I couldn't settle in and enjoy the story.

What killed this one for me was the ending. Or, I should say, the non-ending. This is not a stand-alone book. We're left with a major cliffhanger. The story is in no way self-contained, and to know what happens with Gina/Gwen and her kids you'll have to wait until the next book comes out. There is no mention of this being the first in a series, and so I have no idea when that next book will be released or even if the next book will resolve the cliffhanger.

I've noticed, much to my dismay, this trend of cliffhangers forcing us to read the next book, and then the next one after that. I don't know whether this is coming from the publishers or a segment of authors trying to push the purchase of followup books. Either way, I am not a fan. I love a series, but I also want the main plot to be resolved at the end. Cliffhangers feel too much like extortion - buy the next book or you'll never know what happens with these characters you're already invested in.

*This was my Kindle First choice for June.* ( )
  Darcia | Jun 5, 2017 |
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