I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Killman Creek by Rachel Caine
Published by Thomas and Mercer Pages: 348
on December 12, 2017
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Daylighters, Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Prince of Shadows, Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, Ash and Quill
Second in the Stillhouse Lake thriller series and revolving around a woman on the run and her two terrified, angry children.
Killman Creek was an odd combination of too-long and so-short. Connor made me nuts with his behavior while Lanny played the part of the petulant teenager to perfection. Actions which dragged things out. But then Gwen’s and Sam’s escapades shortened all that right up. Especially toward the end when I was racing to find out what happened next.
As for the conflict in the story…jesus…it’s one helluva twist when you discover the betrayal. But it gets even worse at the end. The cold-bloodedness of some people. It will send chills down your spine, as you discover the truth behind Melvin’s actions towards his kids.
Whew, Caine has some nasty foreshadowing going on…it serves to make those betrayals feel even worse.
It’s an interesting set of perspectives, using first-person multiple point-of-view, so the primary characters each tell their part of the story. It’s a great way to hear their thoughts and feelings. Lanny’s doing that teen thing and yet is very introspective while Connor is terribly conflicted between his mother and father.
We get a bit more background on Sam’s relationship with his “estranged” sister, and it’ll make you weep at the unfairness of it.
I do wish Caine had done more to make me feel as if Lustig felt conflicted over his actions. It’s a tell that could have used some work. And I wanna smack that Connor!
Melvin Royal is on the run, heading towards his wife and kids, toward a refuge that has become a trap for her and the kids. It’s time for Gwen to turn that attitude around, and she leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor.
Now, with the help of Sam Cade, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.
But what she’s up against is beyond anything she could anticipate — a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust within her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.
Gwen Proctor, the former Gina Royal, is desperate to save her kids and herself from the attentions of her serial killer ex, Melvin Royal. The fifteen-year-old Atlanta “Lanny” (Lily Royal) and twelve-year-old Connor (Brady Royal), who loves to read, hate the life they’re forced to lead.
Sam Cade had been stalking Gina/Gwen, for his sister, Callie, had been one of Melvin’s victims. Frodo had been her cat. Agent Mike Lustig is with the FBI, heading up a task force that investigates Internet groups, and owes his friend Sam some favors. Vivian is Mike’s wife.
Dahlia Brown became Lanny’s best friend. Mary Utrecht and Ernie are fellow students, and he’s the class’s #1 jerk.
The Norton PD
Detective Prester was in charge of the investigation in Stillhouse Lake, 1. Officer Kezia Claremont had been Graham’s partner; she’s living with Javier Esparza, a retired Marine who runs a gun range. Boot is Javier’s Rottweiler.
Officer Lancel Graham had been the serial killer cop.
A small town in Georgia
Officer Turner has the cold stare and power play attitude perfected.
Ballantine Rivard is a billionaire whose wealth is based on a hyper-luxe series of shops, Rivard Luxe. His son was also targeted by Absalom. Mrs. Yarrow is his assistant. Chivari and Dougherty are his bodyguards. Mr. Sauer was the unfortunate private investigator.
Absalom was the computer hacker friend in Stillhouse Lake until the truth comes out. Arden Miller, who has recently found a passion for painting, is desperate to get out. Carl David Suffolk lives in Wichita and works in a copy shop, Imaging Solutions. David Roberts is the assistant manager.
Annie is the nasty woman in New Orleans.
Morningside House is a lovely B&B run by Aisha and Kiann. Arjunn is their young son, and they have a teenage daughter. Anita Jo Marcher had been Melvin’s fourth victim. Easy Claremont is Kezia’s dad.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a beautiful range of royal blues lighting up from the treeline and down from the lit-up house set back against those same trees in the center of the cover. The foreground is a more textured set of royal blues of snow and weed-filled fields. The author’s name is at the top in a much lighter blue while the title is at the bottom in a deep yellow.
The title is Gwen’s last stand, Killman Creek, where it becomes Gwen’s will against Melvin’s.