Book Review ~ Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine #TuesdayBookBlog

Hey, y’all. I managed to do a little reading last week. Of course, I didn’t do a lot of writing, but that’s another story. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago friend and fellow author Staci Troilo posted a review of Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake Series. I’d had the first book on my reading list for a while, and decided to take the plunge. Today, I’d like to share my review of the first in the series, 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.

My Review:

When her husband is convicted as a psychotic serial killer, Gina Royal has to recreate a new life for herself and her children. Because Gina was arrested and tried as a possible accomplice, numerous death threats were made against both her and her children.

After several moves, and new identities, she finally finds refuge on Stillhouse Lake near a small Tennessee town as Gwen Proctor. But just as she begins to feel comfortable, a woman’s body is found in the lake, and the crime is eerily reminiscent of her husband’s crimes.

I’m usually not a fan of first-person and certainly don’t care for present tense, but this author did it right so much that I was barely aware.

The book begins with a shocking opening, and for the most part, the action is fast-paced. I started to get bogged down in a couple of chapters, but I was intrigued enough to continue.

I was able to guess a couple of things about mid-way, but it isn’t often I don’t figure out a killer’s identity before the end of a book. However, the author threw in enough twists to leave me guessing if my assumption was correct.

While there is a solution to the Stillhouse Lake murders, the overall story arc is incomplete, which left me feeling unsatisfied. I don’t care for storylines that take several books for a resolution.

I’m undecided as to whether I will purchase and read the second book of the series, as I wasn’t captivated enough to care what happens next.

I’m rating this book three stars, but if 3.5 were allowed, I would give it that. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, you’ll probably like this book.

16 thoughts on “Book Review ~ Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. Thanks for sharing your review Joan. This is floating around my TBR list. I admit to be curious about it now with conflicting opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. As I commented to someone else, the unfinished arc bothered me the most. Staci loved it and you might as well.


  2. I haven’t read the book, but I am not a fan of the ARC spanning more than one book. I don’t mind a series, but I don’t like have that feeling of wanting more at the end of a book.


    1. I think it was the unfinished ARC that did it for me. I want closure. 🙂 Don’t mind a series but please make the books with the ability to stand alone.


  3. Joan, your review reflects my thoughts of Stillhouse Lake. I thought it started off with a bang but then bogged down, and I didn’t like that the overall ARC continues into another book. I thought it was well written, but it just didn’t work for me (the garage, especially).

    I think I’ve also gotten to the point where I don’t have the stomach to read serial killer violence of the nature depicted in Stillhouse Lake. Thankfully, author didn’t “show” the killings as they were happening, but there was enough detail to make me uncertain about reading book 2. Like you, it may surface on my TBR, but I’ve too many other books I want to read first.

    Thoughtful and insightful review, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree. There’s enough violence in the real world. If the author had gotten traffic, I would have stopped there. I won’t discount reading it in the future, but like you I have too many others on my TBR and wish list.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel bad. I DEVOURED this series and really liked it, but you’re the second person who read it after my review who was disappointed. Just goes to show we can’t all enjoy the same things, I guess. Sorry!

    PS—I still stand by my review, but I guess I should stress how dark the stories are. I suppose some people wouldn’t enjoy that. (And now I’m worried about my thrillers; maybe they’ll be too dark. Hmm.)

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, I did like LOTR. A few years ago I read a three book series where the killer wasn’t revealed until book three. I stayed with it and enjoyed the series. (And when I read it the first, the other books hadn’t been published.) It was one of the times when the killer’s identity took me completely by surprise.


  5. I’m a big fan of Rachel Caine’s work, especially her Weather Wardens series and her absolutely fantastic Great Library series, but this book hasn’t even tempted me, and so far, the reviews I’ve read have convinced me it’s not for me. I can’t wait for the next book in the Great Library series (a fantastic alternate history of the Library of Alexandria), but I’ll pass on this one, I think. Thanks for the review, Joan. (I highly recommend checking out those Weather Wardens or the wonderfully developed characters and world in Ink and Bone, Book 1 of the Great Library.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting, Marcia. I liked her writing style but wasn’t fond of the story. The ones you mention sound more interesting. I’ll have to look into those. And add to that ever growing TBR.

      Liked by 1 person

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