Killman Creek and Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (Stillhouse #2 and #3)

Publication Info: Killman Creek Published December 12th 2017 by Thomas & Mercer. Kindle edition read via Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Wolfhunter River Published April 23rd 2019 by Thomas & Mercer. Kindle edition purchased from Amazon.com.

Summary: Killman Creek and Wolfhunter River continue the nail-biting tribulations of Gwen Proctor and her family.  In Killman Creek, Gwen’s ex-husband, serial killer Mel Royal, escapes from prison and torments his former wife and children. He intends to kill his wife and daughter and turn his son into a killer like himself. In Wolfhunter River, Gwen hopes to get a fresh start but is once again hounded by the Internet trolls and the mainstream media. A woman whose daughter was one of Mel’s victims has decided to make Gwen the target of her well financed anger. She is determined to prove that Gwen helped her husband murder her daughter and others. Gwen not only has to deal with her, but also crooked law enforcement and a deranged cultist.

Comments: These books are “keep you up way too late at night” page-turners. Killman Creek was my least favorite in the series, mostly because Mel Royal is out of prison and a real threat. I swore off serial killer books years ago. The first book in the series, Stillhouse Lake, which I previously reviewed, was a refreshing change in the genre as it focused on his wife and family. It also highlighted the devastating effects of social networking on innocent people. While the shadow of Melvin Royal still hangs over the Proctor family, Wolfhunter River returns its focus to Gwen, her children and Sam, the new man in Gwen’s life. There are twists and turns in all of these books that border on the bizarre, but they are oh-so entertaining anyway.

Readers should suspend disbelief and just enjoy the wild ride.

Recommended for readers of psychological suspense and thrillers.

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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Publication Info: Published July 1st 2017 by Thomas & Mercer. Kindle edition free from Prime Reading by Amazon Books. Other editions available.

Summary: Gina Royal’s life changed forever when a car ran into her garage. The gaping hole in the building revealed a dark secret that her husband, Mel, kept from everyone for years: he was a serial killer.Stillhouse Lake

Now Gina is on the run with her two teenage children. Initially under suspicion by the police as an accomplice to her husband’s evil deeds, she was exonerated by the legal system, but not by the court of public opinion. Internet trolls, the bored, the crazy and anyone cowardly enough to throw the first stone behind a wall of anonymity attack Gina relentlessly. The threats arrive daily. Some are just disturbing but others cross the line into reality.

Forced to change their identities over and over, Gina, now Gwen, is tired of running. In the quiet community of Stillhouse Lake, she longs to find a place where she and her children can settle down and stay put. Her kids need some solidity in their lives.  But then a murdered woman is found in the lake. The evidence points to Mel Royal’s M.O. but he’s in jail. Gwen knows someone is out to frame her. But can she prove her innocence before she and her family have to disappear again?

Comments: O M G. I couldn’t put this one down. I swallowed Stillhouse Lake whole and got my hands on the second in the series post haste. Several years ago, I swore off serial killer books. But this is different. The focus is on one of the living victims–the killer’s wife. This book also brings into sharp focus the dangers of living in the internet age, in which anyone can be attacked and tracked anonymously.

Fans of psychological suspense should make this book a top priority on their reading lists.

Brief Mentions

I’m a bit off-schedule. I broke my foot and had surgery just over a month ago. Doc ended up putting a wire in my foot. For about 2-3 weeks, I was pretty much confined to my bed or the recliner, with my foot elevated. This meant I initially did a lot of reading and I did manage to put up a flurry of book reviews. Doing nothing but reading and screen time on my iPad/iPhone gave me eye strain. Once I became just a tad more mobile –I’m on one of those knee scooters– I really had to catch up on other things and get away from reading for a while to let my eyes rest.

I’m still on the knee scooter and unable to walk on my left foot. Doc will remove the wire in a couple of weeks and I can then start baby-stepping into a bit more normalcy. Healing is a long, slow process!

I did listen to some older-title books on audio or my kindle, where I could crank the font up.

1. The Last Mile by David Baldacci. (Amos Decker #2). Publication date: April 2016.

Brief summary : Decker helps a man who got a last-second reprieve on death row for the murder of his parents. Someone else confessed to the crime, but it soon becomes apparent that there is more to the story.  Comments: I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ve been a Baldacci fan for over 20 years. He knows how to spin a good yarn. Unlike many other writers with dozens of best-selling books, he hasn’t rested on his laurels. He has honed his craft over the years and hasn’t lowered his standards. I’m looking forward to the next 2 books in the Amos Decker series (The Fix (2017) and The Fallen (2018).

2. The Forgotten by Faye Kellerman. (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus # 13). Publication Date: August 2001.

Brief Summary: Rina and Peter’s shul is vandalized. The damage is extensive and the anti-Semitic messages and photos are appalling. While Rina works to clean up the mess, Peter investigates the crime and learns that his step-son, Jacob, has connections to the perpetrator. Comments: Reading this series is like visiting old friends. I love learning more about the familiar characters. There aren’t any surprises here, but I think fans of the series will enjoy this one.

 

Stone Cold by C.J. Box

Publication Date: March 11th 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Stone Cold is the 14th in the Joe Pickett series.

Summary: Joe is back working for Governor Rulon again. This time the governor wants him to check out some hinky goings on in Medicine Wheel County in north central Wyoming. In particular, the Governor wanted to know what a man named Wolfgang Templeton was up to. Templeton has been buying up huge tracts of land, creating a small fiefdom for himself. He is also suspected of being involved in organized crime, specifically murder-for-hire. The governor asks Joe to go up there, nose around a bit and see if he can get some information. Joe is also supposed to not get directly involved.Stone Cold

Of course, Joe, being Joe, is going to get himself right into the middle of the mess in Medicine Wheel County. When he gets up there, he finds rampant corruption. He also discovers his old friend, Nate Romanowski, has gotten himself involved with Templeton.

Meanwhile, Joe is also dealing long-distance with family issues, as he worries about two of his three daughters.

Comments: Stone Cold was one of my favorite titles in this series. The plot, characters and action are spot on without anything feeling overly contrived. The novel zipped along and kept me reading at a rapid pace, wondering what was going to happen next.

Highly recommended for C.J. Box fans. For those unfamiliar with his work, I suggest starting at the beginning of the series, with Open Season.

 

Severe Clear by Stuart Woods

Publication Date September 18th 2012 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Severe Clear

I’m compelled to read this series and I can’t figure out why.  The early books had a throwback to the 60’s era charm with dashingly fast plots. This entry in the series has absolutely no surprises, the characters are completely flat and the only reason I care about them is I’ve gotten to know them previously.  The whole book was “severe clear” with absolutely no sense of danger– not a good thing for a thriller.

I rarely give out 1 star reviews but this one gets that dubious distinction.