Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Author: Rachel Caine
Released: December 12th 2017
Warnings: Torture/Rape/Murder, animal injury, kidnappings
Killman Creek is the conclusion to Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake duology. I’ve read some of Rachel Caine’s other works, but thus far Stillhouse Lake had been my favorite (clearly the thrilled genre works well for her). Considering how much I loved Stillhouse Lak, I was pretty excited about the fact that the sequel was coming out less than half a year later (I’m not exactly known for my patience), and I imagine a lot of fans felt the same way.
Warnings first: If you’ve read the first book (and if you haven’t, what are you doing here? You don’t want crazy spoilers!) then you already have a pretty good idea what you’re in for here. Gwen/Gina’s ex-husband is a monster, there’s no way around that fact. He kidnaps, rapes, and tortures women; his past comes up frequently, by main characters as well as side characters. (Spoiler warning) Lanny and Gwen both get kidnapped, and a dog does get injured (but I promise you he’s ok), and a woman gets brutally murdered (I actually kinda skipped that scene, so I can’t be completely accurate on how bad it was, just that it was too much for me). So just consider yourself warned.
I was so excited for Killman Creek, more so when I found out that it was the conclusion as well as the sequel. That being said, I found myself let down. A lot of the elements I had loved so much in the first book were altered, almost like they were turned up to volume ten. It changed the tone and frankly, the believability for me.
For example, I kind of loved the idea of internet vigilantes wreaking havoc on Gwen’s family life, simply because they thought they were right. It feels so similar to events we see and hear happening all the time in the real world, so our knowledge only helped to add context to it all. It was believable. If a man was busted as a serial killer, there’s no way today’s society would believe the wife was completely unknowing, even if that was the truth. I can see it happening.
The problem is they brought that to unbelievable extremes – Absalom (who in the first book had been a hactivist double agent sort of character) is actually an organization of people (my eyebrows went right up at that revelation), and not only that but (massive spoiler) they’ve been helping to hide Mel (and worse). I just don’t buy it. Yes, I do believe a group of people could get that corrupt, and possibly buy that it could go largely unnoticed. But to the levels that happen in the book? To the extremes here? No, I don’t see it. I know it’s just a book, but I like believable thrillers, and that element had been in the first book, which I loved.
I did like the perspective changes in this novel; we finally got a chance to see things from other character’s points of view. Mostly those views were of Sam, buy Lanny and Conner occasionally popped up, which was good (as they weren’t always together, so different sets of events were able to unfold quickly).
My last complaint was the unnecessary romance – do I see the possibility between Sam and Gwen? Honestly, maybe? But not in the manner or timeframe it happened in. There’s too much between them for things to move that quickly and still be stable. I just don’t see it.
I’m glad Rachel Caine has started dipping into other genres. While I’ve liked her fantast works, it’s always felt like something was missing to me. And I think she’s found that something in thriller. Like I said, while I didn’t really love this novel, I did like its predecessor quite a lot, and would absolutely give another series by her a chance.