Review: Stillhouse Lake, by Rachel Caine

Time for a book review! I was able to pick up an early copy of this new suspense novel from author Rachel Caine (of Morganville Vampires and Weather Wardens fame…and I did love the Weather Wardens). It was released on July 1 by Thomas and Mercer.

ABOUT STILLHOUSE LAKE: 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. 

WHAT I LIKED: This is one of those books I flew through—so much so, I thought it was a short book. It wasn’t; it was just that hard to put down. Rachel Caine has created a set of characters it’s hard not to fall for: the determined, diligent Gwen, her teen daughter going through an eye-rolling, goth phase, and her geeky son in whom she sees haunting echoes of his father. This is a family on the edge, perpetually on the run, but who want desperately to settle in and live a normal life. Stillhouse Lake seems the perfect middle-of-nowhere location…until it isn’t. The suspense is taut. The question marks—who’s doing what to whom, and why—are well developed with multiple suspects. And how does the jailed serial killer husband fit into the whole puzzle—or does he fit at all?

WHAT I LIKED LESS: I’m probably naïve. Okay, I’m naïve. It’s hard for me to imagine that Internet trolls and fanatic groups are obsessive enough to be harassing the spouse and children of a serial killer years after the fact—even if she was suspected for a time of being part of his evil. Don’t people have better things to do? Then again, I read political crap on Facebook and think, maybe it’s not so implausible after all. So you have to suspend disbelief that there are such people out there.

CONCLUSION: This is a great beginning to a new series. A few other reviews I’ve read have complained about a cliffhanger ending, but I didn’t find it a cliffhanger at all. The immediate conflict was resolve with just enough questions to keep the series going. Book two, KILLMAN CREEK, will be released in December.

I give STILLHOUSE LAKE a rare five gators!


Have any of you read STILLHOUSE LAKE yet? Do you have plans to? If you’ve read it, what do you think?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

7 thoughts on “Review: Stillhouse Lake, by Rachel Caine

  1. Appreciate the review. Had not been aware that Rachel Caine was starting a new series.

  2. I’ve had my local library order this one and I’m on the list to read it. Can’t wait, as I love her writing. My favorite is the Morganville Vampires, possibly because I went to college in a small Texas town. Didn’t have vamps at college…that I know of, at least.

  3. Hmm…. I’m a bit wary of books with Goths in them as so rarely the Goths are written as more than grotesque stereotypes. After reading several of her Morganville books where people keep saying how surprisingly cute the Goth character looks when she’s not wearing her Goth clothes and make-up I’m thinking the Goth in this book won’t be much different. Still, I like Caine’s stories, so I might give it a try anyway.