BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, April 22, 2019

Bea Reviews Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine

Series: Stillhouse Lake #3
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | BooksAMillion | IndieBound |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.
Gwen Proctor escaped her serial-killer husband and saved her family. What she can’t seem to outrun is his notoriety. Or the sick internet vigilantes still seeking to avenge his crimes. For Gwen, hiding isn’t an option. Not when her only mission is to create a normal life for her kids.
But now, a threatened woman has reached out. Marlene Crockett, from the remote town of Wolfhunter, is panicked for herself and her daughter. When Gwen arrives in the small, isolated rural community, Marlene is already dead—her own daughter blamed for the murder. Except that’s not the person Marlene feared at all. And Gwen isn’t leaving until she finds out who that was.

My Thoughts:

Oh, my gosh. This was dark, twisty, and at times improbable, but oh, so engrossing. A 4 star read. And there's even a happy-ish ending.

I loved the first two books in this series and could hardly wait for this one. Given the events, and the ending of book two, I wasn't sure where Caine would go and what she'd do. A quick note: this would not work well as a stand alone. You definitely need to read this series in order. It's suspenseful and twisty and full of surprises and you need a score card to keep track of the players and where they fall on the good, bad, and in-between spectrum.

The town of Wolfhunter falls squarely in the bad department. It was over the top at times and stretched credulity but Caine made it work. Also over the top was the sheer number of bad guys. Seriously, you want a score card. New characters, returning characters, Caine makes them all pop.

The focus this time around is less on Gwen and her and her family's problems, though they certainly exist, and more on several mysteries set in and around Wolfhunter. There were a lot of threads but Caine weaves them all together into a cohesive, and tense, story. Gwen and family are in transition. Her ex is gone but not all of his acolytes are. They are trying to navigate their way into their new lives, but the past isn't completely done with them yet. One change is that Gwen is trying to use her experiences and painfully learned lessons to help others. It's that desire to help that leads her to Wolfhunter.

I read the story twice and even though I knew what to expect the second time around, I still held my breath in anticipation and fear. My heart broke several times during the story but I also had moments of delight. The kids, Lanny and Connor, have grown and changed, and while they are by no means perfect, they are great kids. Gwen, and later Sam, have done a fantastic job raising them and guiding them through the insanity and pressure of their lives. And Sam. Oh, Sam. His past blew up in his face and it's Gwen and the kids who have to deal with the wreckage, not just Sam. I felt sorry for him and I was angry at him.

"Wolfhunter River" was a dark story, full of violence, grief, and despair, but there was hope too, and so much love; fierce, determined, go to the ends of the earth love. And the ending, while not quite an HEA, was full of hope and positive change. And it's not the end. Caine announced in a recent newsletter that there will be a fourth book, "Bitter Falls" in early 2020. I'll be counting down the days. If you like enthralling, surprising, complex suspense stories with complex, fascinating characters, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. But read the preceding books first.

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