15/30 Book Review: Stillhouse Lake


Stillhouse Lake
Rachel Caine
Thriller
Pub date: July 1, 2017

Plot Summary

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.

Dark Premise

I was immediately hooked by this plot. I’m fascinated by psychopaths, marriages, and how people respond to tragedy or trauma, so this single book encompassed a lot of my interests.

Stillhouse Lake is deeply chilling, the kind of darkness that sinks in and makes you seek out someone to cuddle. In this book, you never know who to trust and violence is always just around the corner. No wonder Gwen is paranoid.

Speaking of Gwen…

Gwen is a new version of warrior, a mother who fights for her children with both keyboard and gun. She relentlessly monitors the online trolls who threaten her family and institutes elaborate safety procedures surrounding her house, phones, and activities.

She also adds a note of unreliability to the narrative. As people question her fears, Gwen begins to doubt herself and wonder if she needs to scale back. As a reader, you’re left in the middle of her quandary. Maybe she is too fearful. But then again, maybe lowering barriers is the worst thing she can do.

Conclusion

Stillhouse Lake is darkly satisfying. Between the fear and violence, Caine wove a beautiful story of how a woman transforms to protect herself and her family. If Wonder Woman lived today, I think she would look a little like Gwen Proctor.

I can’t wait for the next book.

[As a reminder: You can review any of Rachel Caine’s books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads for entry to the grand prize giveaway–a preorder of your choice! Caine has penned ~50 books, so you have lots of options. Upload a picture of your review (or part of it!) to Twitter with #Reviews3030 or email me at ytbellereads AT gmail.com.]

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