Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (302 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

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.

You can’t outrun your past no matter how hard you try. And believe me, Gwen Proctor has done everything humanly possible to put her old life – and her old self – behind her. Trying to forget she’d ever been married to a serial killer, she and her kids have been on the run for three years. Finally, they’ve found a place they can call home, but for how long?

Gwen Proctor, who was once Gina Royal, is a complex character. She’s tough as nails, dedicated and determined, all the things she needs to be in order to keep herself and her children safe. She’s also over the top obsessive about security, protocol, and how things work around the house. This, too, I suppose is necessary for their safety, although it does get a bit repetitive and annoying at times. While I understand her unwillingness to trust people, she takes it a little too far at times. Gwen pushes anyone and anything she can’t put into a neat little box to the side. Even when she realizes she’s made a mistake, she just pushes forward, never looking back. I’m sure that most people will take her situation into consideration and forgive her for being a little crazy at times, but saying, “Yikes, I’m sorry that I thought you were in league with my psycho ex-husband” would have gone a long way towards making me like her more. Not that I hated her, because I didn’t. She was a woman doing what she had to in order to survive. I understand where she’s coming from, having two children of my own. But her never apologizing even once gives her this abrasiveness that rubbed me the wrong way.

As much as I love thrillers and mysteries, I’ve never been one of those people who was able to solve it before the end. This holds true for this novel as well. There are a couple of people close to Gwen throughout the story that I kept wavering back and forth with. Is it this one? Oh no, please don’t let it be that one. In the end, I was still taken by surprise when the perpetrator was revealed, although I’m pretty sure I should have seen that one coming.

Stillhouse Lake is one of the most intense, edge of my seat books I’ve read all year. It kept me engaged and wanting more with every page. As much as I wish the internet trolls she deals with every day during her Sicko Patrol were exaggerated, I know for a fact that they’re not. There are crazies out there that will take revenge on innocents to get the justice they believe they’re owed. That’s probably the scariest part of the entire novel. Even with the cliffhanger at the end, you get an excellent thrill ride of a novel. So much so that I preordered the next book, Killman Creek, before I was even halfway through this one. That’s how much this book grabbed me.


  1. An intriguing premise. I’m pretty good at predicting endings–but maybe this one will be different.

  2. Karen Arrowood says:

    I have been hearing great things about this book. I enjoyed reading your review. (I never try to figure out whodunnits either.)

  3. I love her supernatural books, but have yet to try her mysteries.

  4. I really wanted to read this when I first saw it

  5. Jacquetta says:

    The blurb and review makes this a “want to read” for me. I can’t pass on a good suspense read.


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