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.
*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads
*I would like to thank the publisher, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for the copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been ages since I last read a Rachel Caine book. I love her Morganville Vampires series though I never got the chance to finish it. Well, there are 15 books in the series and I managed to get until the 9th. Not because it’s bad actually, it’s just that life gets in the way. Anyway, since Stillhouse Lake is the first book of Rachel Caine that I get to read in forever, I honestly don’t know what to expect. I just know it is so much different from her vampire series and I’m excited to see if the author will get me hooked as before.
When a car crashed in their garage, Gina Royal’s near-perfect family life came crashing down, too. It turns out her husband is a serial killer and their garage has been his “working area” for a long time. She was tried as an accomplice of her husband but was eventually acquitted. But despite her innocence with regards to Melvin Royal’s heinous crimes, there are a lot of people that are not convinced and still believes that she helped her husband. Left with no other choice, Gina, with her 2 kids, tried to escape the nightmare. They move from one place to another and constantly changing identity the moment they feel their past is catching up with them. She may be paranoid but it is keeping them alive. She will do anything to protect her children at all cost. Now, years later, Gina Royal is no more. She is now Gwen Proctor, a far cry from the submissive and gullible wife of Mel. The online threats seem to be subsiding, though, and Gwen can’t help but be hopeful. Maybe, just maybe, they can finally settle in one place and her kids can live a normal life. The secluded and quiet Stillhouse Lake seems to be the perfect place for them. Until a body of a young woman floated to the lake and the way she died is so very similar to the way Mel killed his victims. He may be in prison but Gwen is sure that he has people who are helping him outside. How else can he send her threatening letters? And when the police started knocking on their door, she knows it’s only a matter of time before they found out who she really is. Running away would appear that she is guilty and would make things worse for them. Besides, she can’t bear to tear Lanny and Connor away to the place they call now as home. But can she really risk the safety of her children?
Rachel Caine didn’t disappoint. There is a reason why I got hooked on the Morganville Vampires series and reading Stillhouse Lake made me want to finish the said series. Not only her stories are engaging, they are well-written as well. She sure got me so engrossed in this latest series of hers. I definitely like the plot as it is something you won’t normally come across with. Where most mystery thrillers are hunting down killers, this book follows the story of a serial killer’s wife and the hardship she and her children have to face to ensure their safety from the people who want to harm them. People who believe that Gina is Melvin’s little helper and who doesn’t have any qualms about posting online of ways to hurt her and the kids. Gina’s transformation from a meek wife to a strong and fierce mother is astounding. I like how she reinvented herself. Sure, she is still scared but she made sure she knows how to fight. Gwen is an engaging character. I was immediately gripped by her story and didn’t let go until the end. I feel so much sympathy for what she’s been through after finding out about her serial killer husband. It helped me see the effects of such event can do to the suspect’s family. Whether you’re innocent or not, there are still people who will consider you guilty by association. Anyway, I also like the kids, Lanny and Connor. They are resentful about their situation but they are also smart and they understand what needed to be done. Like Gwen, I don’t trust the other characters, either and that added to the mystery of who’s the bad guy. Though, honestly, if you read enough mystery stories, it won’t be that hard to guess. The pacing slows down after the first few chapters and the repetitions can be a bit boring but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the story.
Stillhouse Lake is an intense, quick read. It is full of suspense, twists and turns that will keep you turning page after page until you hit the end and even then still crave for more (since that was some cliffhanger ending). I will be picking up the next book real soon because I need to know what happened. The story will surely appeal to people who like some mystery and suspense.