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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine @amazonpub @rachelcaine

Stillhouse Lake
(Stillhouse Lake #1)
by Rachel Caine
Thomas & Mercer
Amazon Publishing


Huge thank you to Amazon Publishing / Thomas & Mercer for this copy!  See what Jessica, Sam and I thought of this 5 Star Book! 

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.

Jessica's Review:

Those of us familiar with the thriller genre typically get to see through the eyes of the serial killer. Well, in STILLHOUSE LAKE by Rachel Caine, we get to see the family that the serial killer left behind and how they are now coping and surviving. 

Gina Royal was an average Midwestern woman. She had a happy marriage and two happy children - she thought she had it all. A car crash changed all of that. Her world comes crashing down when she learns that her husband, was in fact, a brutal serial killer. He is arrested and put on death row - Gina must now act for her safety and the safety of her children.

Gina leaves her old life behind, and her old identity. She is now Gwen Proctor and moves her family to Stillhouse Lake. Just when she thinks she's left her past behind her, a body turns up on the lake with threatening letters. One thing is certain, Gwen will stop at nothing to keep her children alive and safe. 

This book. Holy crap. I read this in two sittings (damn responsibilities) and I could not stop flipping those pages. The tension and paranoia are so strong in this novel that I got those "something is behind me" vibes. Gwen is forced to start a new life for herself and her children because of the torment and threats from those wanting to seek revenge against her husband. This was a great new perspective and a very unique way at approaching a serial killer thriller. You never get to see what happens to the families of the killers. 

One thing is for sure, Gwen is one bad ass female lead and so easy for the reader to connect to. I can't wait to see where things go in KILLMAN CREEK in book two!

Overall, if you want suspense and tension, then look no further. If you want a unique spin and perspective on a serial killer thriller, then STILLHOUSE LAKE is the next book you need to pick up!

I give this one 5/5 stars!

Sam's Review: 

It’s the time of year when Goodreads releases their list for the Goodreads Choice Awards and I begin my frantic need to read all of the nominees!  Luckily for me, I chose to start with Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine.   How did I spend the entire year without this book in my life?? IT WAS FANTASTIC.

The novel surrounds Gwen Proctor, formally Gina Royal, who has worked hard to create a new identity for herself and her children after her husband is arrested and put on death row for the brutal murder and torture of several women.  After being on the run for several years, trying her best to keep her children safe and avoid vigilantes who would like to punish her for her husband’s wrong doings, the family has settled in Stillhouse Lake, a small town in Tennessee.  However, when the bodies of young women are found in the lake outside Gwen’s home, looking eerily similar to her ex-husband’s handy work, Gwen finds herself in harm’s way. 

This book was truly on the edge of your seat thrilling from beginning to end.  Not you run of the mill serial killer thriller, this one was full of psychological suspense and paranoia.  I loved seeing this new perspective in a novel.  It is rare to read about the aftermath of a psychopath through the eyes of the people close to them.  In fact, the crimes themselves took a backseat.  I loved this spin

Gwen was an amazing character as she moves from sweet, naïve, Mid-Western housewife into a kick-ass, gun wheeling super mom who would kill for her children’s safety.  I absolutely loved watching her transformation throughout the novel. 

From the suspenseful moments to the addictive writing style, I was completely compelled from the moments I turned the first pages.

5/5 stars from me.  I cannot wait to dive into Book Two!! 

My Review:

That prologue just immediately caught my attention and from there I could barely put the book down.  A one sit read for me and I couldn't have imagined a better Sunday - I would say relaxing but this book does NOT relax you!

Gina/Gwen and her kids have taken on new identities... again... as they have to deal with the aftermath of her husband, their father, being a serial killer who is spending life behind bars.  Families of the victims, internet trolls, fans of the killer, are after her and the kids.  They think justice still needs to be served and surely she helped him.  How could she have NOT known being married to him and sharing a bed with him every night! 

The author takes you on their journey as they try to build a life at Stillhouse Lake.  Just when they thought they'd need to run again, occurrences keep them there and now they don't know who they can trust.  As we watch Gwen berate herself for letting her guard down, we also see the stronger woman she's become since the truth of her husband has come to light.  Paranoid, standoffish and fiercely protective of her kids, she will let NOTHING come to harm them.

While the majority of the book stays on her paranoid path, it never felt redundant or made my attention waver.  I did see a couple of things coming toward the end but it never took away from the pacing of the book and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I felt myself getting extremely involved with Gwen and her kids.  The set up at the end, though not unexpected, is perfect for book two.  I'm happy to say I have a copy so that I can just go straight in and see what happens. 

It certainly makes you realize the aftermath of the innocent from the actions of the guilty.  It's not a pretty picture and certainly not so in this digital age.  I'm rooting for Gwen! (Even if she does like craft beer... ew!)

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