Stillhouse Lake Series #1
By: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 7/1/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
WOW! STILLHOUSE LAKE by Rachel Caine is A riveting heart-pounding psychological thriller . . . My first book by the author and anxiously awaiting #2! What an incredible writer - an addictive, deliciously evil new series. I can see this playing out on Amazon Video.
Meet Gina Royal from Wichita, Kansas.
Gina never asked about the garage. That thought would keep her awake every night for years. “I should have asked. Should have known. But she had never asked. She didn’t know. In the end, that was what destroyed her.
Her husband, Mel was charming. Their children Brady and Lily. That day, her husband called with an emergency. She needed to pick up the kids. Mel loved their family life. His second-favorite thing: wood-working in his shop. More than wood-working going down in the garage.
“Normal life. Comfortable life. Not perfect, of course. Nobody had a perfect marriage, did they? But Gina was satisfied at least most of the time.”
However, that day when she arrived home there were police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck. Their mailbox. Their lawn. Their house.
An SUV had crashed into their garage. (Mel’s workshop). Before she knew what was happening Detective Salazar was arresting her.
They were victims. Someone had crashed into their home. Why were the cops mistreating her in front of her own children? This had to be a mistake. Embarrassing. The neighbors were taking videos. They would be uploaded to the internet.
Handcuffs. This could not be happening. She could not understand why someone was driving drunk and now she is being arrested.
The garage. The cops wondered if she knew about the garage. She does not park in the garage. Her husband was going to be upset.
However, the detective wants her to explain the life-size naked doll hanging from a hook in the center of the garage. Except, it was not a doll. It was real.
The day her life changed forever. Her husband was a serial killer.
Fast forward four years later.
Gwen Proctor and her children are living at Stillhouse Lake in Tennessee. Since leaving Wichita, they have changed their identity four times. The weak creature she had left behind. One who had aided and abetted; however, unconsciously. That woman is long dead and she does not mourn her.
Her kids are now Connor and Atlanta (Lanny for short). She has tried to keep them safe from predators and all the hate mail. Their father was a monster. The “good” father with a mask.
If it had not been for the drunk driver, their lives would have gone on the same. It was her fault his true depth of evil had been finally unmasked. He had taken out a storage locker in the name of her long-dead brother. The journal. Each victim had a section.
From abduction, torture, murder. The man will kill again.
There had been a trial. All the women. Mel had infected her like a virus. Then there was the hacker which goes by the name of Absalom. But he helped with the false identities. Finding them safe havens. He controls the online harassment. Strictly business. She pays him.
Ugly, cruel things about her and her children online. Like they had known was a monster Mel was. She keeps a gun. She will not let anyone hurt her kids or her ever again. Alarms, computers, security systems, burner phones. Their lives are spent looking over their shoulders. She is committed to their survival.
Absalom communicates with them (computer guy). Her husband writes letters. There is a mailing address elsewhere. How does he know where she is?
He writes from prison. He describes what he will do to her if given the chance. He’s inventive. Descriptive. Repellently direct. Mel is a contagious, fatal disease.
People think she is guilty. His hobby. The garage. Little did she know what he was doing in the garage and what he was hiding. She knew he used bleach, but it was always a logical reason. She had believed every word.
Then there is a murder at Stillhouse Lake.
The rustic retreat. Upper-middle-class families. Second homes. A woman weighed down. The description sounds familiar to Mel’s victims. Does it have anything to do with Mel’s crimes? Murder practically at her front door?
She owes her children a stable upbringing and safety. From trading cars to houses, always on the move.
Mel had liked his stupid games. “Breath Play.” Cords around her neck. She hated it. She had seen something dark. She had refused. He had never choked her hard enough to pass out, but close. Little did she know while he was starving her for oxygen during sex, he was imagining his women in the garage, fighting the noose as he raised and lowered them off the ground.
He was using her to play out his murders. Chilling and sickening.
Now she had to protect her family with more than a gun. Mentally, emotionally, and logically. She cannot trust anyone. She must break the trail.
Sam Cade. He is new to town. He is supposed to do some work on the house. They both have secrets.
She has money that was Mel’s escape money. The inheritance from his parents’ estate; in the storage shed. It had been a year before she was acquitted. She had spent it on their safety, shelter, and identities before Stillhouse Lake. For their new life.
Slowly she learns to trust Sam Cade and her son likes him. Even Lanny (with her goth and edge). Her son wants to be an architect so he and Sam hit it off. She wants to fall for this guy, but she is cautious. However, does he have a hidden agenda?
Gina has a mailing service. Mel writes her. He has seen her and Sam at the lake house. How is this possible?
She must go to the prison and confront the monster.
From Javier, Sam, Absalom, Lance Graham, Detective Prester— who can she trust? Enemy or ally?
“Mel is worse than a monster. He’s a smart monster. Mel disposed of women in the water. Now, one trusts her.
Another dead girl found floating in the lake.
People are learning about her past. She will be arrested and she will lose her kids. Her murdering ex-husband. Who is doing this? Who else is keeping secrets? Does Gwen (Gina) have a stalker?Has she fallen for a serial killer twice?
Now there are horrible words on their windows. A life she cannot escape. She has to fix it. But how. The safe room. Threats. Has Mel broken out of death row and someone made his way to Stillhouse Lake without a soul seeing him?
Someone has her kids. . . She needs help, but who can she trust?
The suspense is riveting! Nerve-racking, heart-pounding! Does Mel have followers? (Mel reminds me of Joe Carroll - The Following - when watching I have to keep one eye closed)
Highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith (Narrator) for an outstanding and entertaining performance. I purchased the book and audio version.
I can see why STILLHOUSE LAKE has received rave reviews and included in the Goodreads Opening Round of Best Mystery and Thriller as well as climbing the Amazon charts.
So excited to receive an ARC of #2 Stillhouse Lake, Killman Creek (currently reading), coming Dec 12, 2017. For fans of psychological thrillers—compelling, well-written, and twisty plots. Love the covers and titles.
With #2, we catch up with Gwen. Mel has escaped from prison with the warning: “You’re not safe anywhere now.”
Stillhouse Lake Series #2
By: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 12/12/2017
My Rating: Currently Reading (ARC)
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.
Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…
You’re not safe anywhere now.