I love books that are suspenseful. I have a high tolerance for what I can endure when I am reading, so when a book purports to be about the wife of a serial killer who is on the run to protect herself and her kids, I expect to be enthralled! The synopsis for Killman Creek was engaging, but that’s about where my interest stops. In the end, the book was just not interesting enough to keep me engaged through the long-haul.
Killman Creek is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake Series. You don’t have to read the first book if you do not want to, as much of what happened in that book is explained in this one. The first book echoes throughout the second, with events following what happened in the first. Gwen Proctor is back as the primary protagonist,, although Sam (a man working with her to stop her ex, Marvin, whose sister was murdered by Marvin) and Gwen’s two children, Lanny and Connor (formerly Lily and Brady), also have their own voices within the story.
I found the back and forth between perspectives to be part of what I disliked. I would have much preferred to follow the entire story through the perspective of Gwen, or at least as a third person passenger. I found both of the children to be very annoying, which fits with the characters being teenagers, but I cared so little about them because of that, that I did not want to read their individual parts.
I didn’t find the story that suspenseful. I wanted this to be a page turner that kept my heart racing. I was looking for the feeling I experienced the first time I read a Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta novel. Instead, I felt this story was predictable, boring, and trite. I didn’t care enough about what happened to Connor and Lanny, and that made caring about this book quite difficult. There also is some ableism in the main villain, a person referred to as “wheelchair bound” of course! I get disabled people can be evil, but the person writing about such a character needs to be more familiar with crip vernacular.
Marvin Royal is also a major disappointment. He is supposed to be this horrifying serial killer. Everything he does builds up to a climax that never comes. You never truly feel like Gwen and the children are really in that much danger, especially because the story moves at a rather slow pace. The horror of Melvin is mostly built up, but by the end you just want him to be gone so you can get on with your life. To me, it did not matter how he went, as long as he was put out of his misery. I was hoping not to be disappointed. You will need to read the book if you truly want to find out whether I was or not, I guess!
I honestly believe that the idea behind the Stillhouse Lake series is good, or at least the concept for book #1 is a good concept. Unless we experience it ourselves, we really don’t know what happens to the family of serial killers. We see how they are treated, but to make the spouse of one the protagonist of a story provides a new perspective on a hallmark of the thriller genre. I am just seriously beginning to wonder whether there needed to be a second book after all? In the end, I think Gina Royal/Gwen Proctor should have had her story end at book #1.
Let’s hope the next book moves on to tell the story of another character. Kezia could use her own story, don’t you think? That might be the thing to get me to give this series another chance. If book #3 is about Gwen, I’m done. You can read this book or not. If you liked the first one, you might feel compelled to check this out. Otherwise, you’ll definitely want to give this one a pass.
*I agreed to write a fair and honest review, in exchange for a chance to read this book.