I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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.
I read this book to fill the Free square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.
What a nail-biter of a book! It’s a fabulous psychological thriller that grabbed me by the throat from the very first pages and didn’t let me go until the very end. Rachel Caine has certainly got my number, and I am really enjoying her most recent work (The Great Library series and The Honors) and now the Stillhouse Lake series. I’ve been looking for an excuse to read this book for some time and I’m so glad I chose it as a Bingo selection.
Having just recently read A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, I already had an interest in what happens to the family of a serial killer. I think that Caine wrote this very realistically. Women in relationships with controlling men spend a lot of time trying not to draw the wrath of their spouses down on themselves. They try to be perfect wives, to maintain perfect households, to do whatever their spouse requests of them. My sister spent time with a controller and I worried for her safety every damn day. That, in and of itself, is terrifying. But when a killer’s crimes are discovered, the public rarely believes that the wife knew nothing. Like Gwen in this book, these women come to believe the same thing--that they should somehow have ignored their husbands’ conditioning and seen what was weird. Readers who harbour these beliefs should read the above mentioned memoir--that author tackles the issue from the unsuspecting family’s perspective. They are abused too and are just trying to survive.
The other highly realistic part of the book was the internet hate and the doxing. As Gwen/Gina finds out, it’s difficult to keep running and hiding. There’s no protection program for families of these criminals. With the need to keep ahead of trouble, she and her two children have been uprooting themselves regularly and changing everything. The kids kind of understand, but not totally, as Gwen has been hiding the worst of the internet hatred and the twisted letters from their father. As a result, both of them are acting out and Gwen completely gets it, but she doesn’t want to be publicly identified, injured or killed.
Is it possible to just quit running? Can they finally start over, make friends and build relationships? Or will the creepy ex-husband manage to ruin their lives yet again? Will the police help them or do they still believe that Gwen was involved in her husband’s crimes somehow? It’s a powerful mix of emotional subject matter and I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next volume.