Title: Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2)
Author : Rachel Caine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 12/12/17
Dates Read: 12/11/17 – 12/15/17
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“My ex-husband is a monster, and I thought he was safely contained and caged, awaiting execution . . . but even from behind bars he ran a campaign of terror against me and our kids.”
You would think that this would go without saying, but just in case… If you have not read Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) and you do not want to read spoilers from said first installment in this series, stop reading now! (**However, I do think that this novel does a fantastic job at it’s provision of background knowledge, so that I believe it could be read as a stand-alone novel without any issues!)
Gwen Proctor and her children, Lanny & Connor, have been through the wringer over the past few years. Gwen was once Gina Royal, the wife of Melvin Royal, and living your average suburban lifestyle until someone wrecked a van into her garage and equally wrecked her life. In Stillhouse Lake, Gwen (her new identity) and her children start a new chapter in their new home, trying to escape their past and move on with life. But her husband ends up pursuing her through his psychological games and twisted followers who are more than willing to help him. At the end of Stillhouse Lake, Lanny & Connor have escaped a murderous police officer, thanks to the help of their mother and Sam Cade, and Gwen learns that her husband, along with many other inmates, has escaped from prison.
When Killman Creek begins, we jump right into the action as Gwen and Sam are making plans to go find Melvin Royal. Gwen leaves her children with trusted friends in Norton and sets out on a mission to find Melvin before he can find them (specifically, before he finds her children)–the hunters instead of the hunted. This mission turns out to be more difficult than they expected, as the mysterious Absalom throws unexpected twists and turns into their pathway. Gwen is a fighter and she is bound and determined to do whatever is necessary to keep her family safe and to take down Melvin Royal once and for all. She is ready to end this–even if it means sacrificing her own life.
One of the things that I did not like at first about this novel was the change in point of view. Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) was told exclusively from Gwen’s point of view. Killman Creek contains alternating chapters from the points of view of Gwen, Sam, Lanny, and Connor. I quickly understood the reasoning for this, as it would have been difficult to display the entire plot events without having multiple perspectives. All understanding aside, I found the voices of Lanny and Connor to be less genuine at times… they did not feel like authentic adolescent voices and there was some (seemingly random) teenage drama thrown in the mix that didn’t really add to the novel, in my opinion.
However, the alternating view points provided a lot of insight into the emotions that the other characters were experiencing and displayed their raw questioning and mistrust of Gwen during the unfolding of events. I also think that the other character’s thoughts, especially those of Sam Cade, helped strengthen the character of Gwen in the eyes of the reader as he observed her diligence and daring sense of courage.
“Gwen’s all raw pain, wired in place with steely control. Looking at her, you’d never doubt that she means what she says. And I don’t, not about Melvin Royal. She will face him head-on. And she won’t run.
‘We’re going to kill him,’ I say.”
This novel is fast-paced and action-packed. The emotion is raw and as a reader, it is hard not to reflect Gwen’s feelings of frustration and, in my opinion, raw hopelessness at times. There were many moments that I was thinking “COME ON! Give her a break for one second… she can’t win for losing!”. It was that sense of frustration for her that kept me quickly reading on to see how she was going to come out on top in this situation.
The ending of this novel was dark and twisty… You can’t take on a serial killer without running into some gore and violence. Melvin Royal is one messed up fella’, for sure! I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending. No cliffhanger, no messy lose ends. However… I get the sense that my journey with Gwen and her family may not be over… Just today, I saw that Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake #3) has been projected to reach publication in 2018. You go, Rachel Caine.