Stillhouse Lake
Rachel Caine
Thomas & Mercer
July 1, 2017

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.

If you’re a parent, you are going to relate to Gina SO HARD!

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Gina Royal is a married mother of two living happily ever after in suburbia. Then one day as she drives home in her mini-van with the kids, her street is barricaded and police are surrounding her house. Very quickly Gina realizes she didn’t know her husband well at all. He is secretly a serial killer.

After chapter one we progress in time to the point where Gina has changed her name, and the names of her kids, several times. They have moved around the country several times. Without a “family members of convicted serial killers” protection program, she is left to her own skills to protect her family. This story portrays internet trolls in a very realistic light. “Gwen” receives death threats from people who don’t believe her innocence. She is sent horrifying images and stories involving violence toward her kids. All the steps Gwen takes following her husband’s conviction are realistic to the kinds of steps that I, as a mother, would take. This is what made her so relatable.

After 8 moves, they buy a home at Stillhouse Lake. It is a quiet and picturesque town which seems ideal for her kids to live out a somewhat normal childhood. Naturally these moves and changing identities are hard on the kids. An average teen would act out and dish attitude to their mother, but throw in a life of secrets, emergency escape plans, and restriction from social media and you’ll meet another realistic personality in “Lanny,” Gwen’s daughter. I enjoyed following Gwen’s internal monologue. She self-doubted and self-blamed at every turn which is something all parents do too often.

This book was a thriller and I was anxious through every chapter. Gwen’s husband seems to have a reach to her life from within prison even though he shouldn’t know anything about her and the kids. When a girl is found floating in Stillhouse Lake, Gina is quickly made a suspect when her true identity is revealed. She must choose between her instinct to run, and her belief that she can stick out the investigation and protect her children.

There are secrets thrown left and right in this story. There is a conclusion that can provide readers with closure but it also sets us up for a continuation to at least one more book.