Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine Review

Posted January 10, 2018 by Asheley in review / 0 Comments

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine ReviewStillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Series: Stillhouse Lake #1
Published by Thomas & Mercer on July 1, 2017
Pages: 302
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Audible
Narrator: Emily Sutton-Smith
Length: 10 hours, 4 minutes
Buy from Amazon|Buy from Barnes & Noble|Buy from Book Depository|Buy on Audible

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.


Fantastic. Stillhouse Lake is a true series and there is a cliffhanger, so be prepared for that when you start reading. If you like strong, smart female leads and suspenseful thriller stories, this just may be the book for you.

Gwen Proctor and her two kids have made a life for themselves at Stillhouse Lake (picture: the cover, the cover!) after fleeing their previous lives and starting over, fresh with new identities. They’ve been the object of online bullying and harassment since her ex-husband was discovered to be a serial killer, and Gwen is tired of it and just wants her kids to live in peace. She wants nothing more than to protect her kids from the sick people that threaten them online and want them to pay for her ex-husband’s crimes.

Gwen has been receiving letters from her ex-husband in prison, but lately the letters have become more threatening and unnerving. Just when Gwen decides it is time to move out, get new identities, and start over in another place — a body turns up in the lake behind their house and OH MY GOSH the girl was murdered just like Gwen’s ex-husband committed his crimes. The girl was killed in the same way! Then another body turns up, again the same way. Somehow the local authorities have connected Gwen to these murders and they want to bring her into the station for questioning. What is going on? Is Gwen being framed? Or did her ex-husband actually do this? How can Gwen ensure that her kids are truly safe while she is at the police station being questioned, especially when she can’t trust a single person at Stillhouse Lake?

Ahhh, so intense!

Gwen Proctor is one of the smartest suspense-thriller leads that I’ve read, and I think that’s one of the things that makes this story so enjoyable for me. Okay, true, I initially wondered how on earth a woman could be so blind to her husband being a serial killer with the very specific way that he carried out his crimes – no spoiling here – you just have to read it for yourself to find out what he did exactly (and you find out very early, which really works to hook you in). The first time that I read this book, I had to suspend my disbelief about how Gwen could be so darn naive about this. Once I did, though, I realized that Gwen felt the same way about herself that I did, which fueled her level of badassery and resolve for the rest of the story.

Gwen was always thinking ahead. She was never resting. She was always protecting her children, always alert to her surroundings. The lengths that she went to just to keep them safe both astounded me and comforted me, if that makes sense. She is really a great mother.

I felt deeply for Gwen and for her children. They could never really relax nor trust anyone. They didn’t seem to have any true friends, which was sad for the kids. There are never any true happy moments, true family moments. They’re always on-guard. Perhaps they have those times, but they’re just not written on the pages for our eyes. BUT the author used this to illustrate just how sadistic and nasty the internet bullying was and how threatening Gwen’s ex-husband was, because even the young kids never truly felt safe nor at ease.

There isn’t any place in Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine where I felt able to catch my breath. It’s a true page-turner. Once I started reading, it was nonstop until the last page, and that feeling never really ended because of the cliffhanger. The first time that I read this, the cliffhanger was a bit of a shock. On this reread, I was ready for it, and I’m prepared with the second book here at my side.

Audiobook Notes:

The first time that I read Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine, I read it on my Kindle. On this reread, I purchased the audiobook so I could listen for the suspense-factor. (The audiobook was $1.99 for the Whispersync upgrade.)

I’ve seen some reviews on Audible that mention that the narration is flat or robotic, but I don’t find that to be the case at all. I think Emily Sutton-Smith did a great job. Her narration completed the picture that my mind had created of Gwen Proctor, and I totally bought into the narration being Gwen’s voice as I was listening. I think that if it is “flat” or “robotic” at all, it is probably because Gwen is a no-nonsense female lead because of how she has been burned by all of the online harassment and fearing for her children. This isn’t the most suspenseful audiobook that I’ve ever heard, but the story is hella suspenseful. Still, I recommend the audio – I think it is great. In fact, I’ve already purchased the audiobook for Killman Creek, which is the second book in this series.

Title: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Series: Stillhouse Lake #1
Narrated by: Emily Sutton-Smith
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 10 hours, 4 minutes, Unabridged

About Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine Author Photo

Rachel Caine’s rich, diverse bibliography of more than 50 books in print covers many categories and genres. She started out writing horror and fantasy as Roxanne Longstreet (Stormriders, The Undead, Red Angel, Cold Kiss, Slow Burn) before switching to the name Roxanne Conrad and publishing romantic suspense and mystery (Copper Moon, Bridge of Shadows, Exile). By 2003, she began to publish under her current pseudonym, specializing in urban fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal young adult fiction.

She has been writing original fiction since the age of fourteen, and professionally published since 1991. She graduated from Socorro High School in El Paso Texas (where she was a UIL all-state champion in music and journalism) and went on to earn an accounting degree from Texas Tech University. She played professionally as a musician for several years once out of college, but ultimately gave up the music for writing.

She’s had a varied “day job” career, including web design, graphic arts, accounting, payroll management, insurance investigation, and (most recently) corporate communications and crisis management. (It all counts as research.)

Rachel loves reading, writing, and mild amounts of arithmetic when required … but she has a special place in her heart for history, music, and science, and you’ll find those themes in many of her works.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


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