Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine

Bitter Falls Series: Stillhouse Lake #4
Released: Jan 21, 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Kiwi Rated It:
View Title On: Goodreads
Get A Copy: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

I was beyond happy to discover that Rachel Caine had carried on with her amazing Stillhouse Lake series, and in Bitter Falls, we once again peek into the life of our badass heroine, Gwen Proctor, her partner Sam and two children, Lanny and Connor. The ex-wife of a serial killer, Gwen is used to dealing with adversity and even though Melvin Royal is long gone (killed by her own hand), she's still being hunted by people who don't believe that she, or her kids, were innocent victims. Adding to the outside trolls, a TV interview has brought extra scrutiny to the town, and now people want Gwen and her family out.

In the midst of her smalltown drama, Gwen now works as a private investigator and her latest case is that of a missing college student. It's soon obvious that the company who hired her has an ulterior motive, and it's not finding out what happened to Remy Landry. When Connor and Sam are abducted by an extreme religious cult, Gwen must pull out all the stops to save them, even if it means getting into bed with her enemy.

Bitter Falls is told from the perspectives of all four members of the family. While Gwen will always be my favorite, the other perspectives are timely and help keep you in the thick of the story as well as giving insight into other aspects of the family's life. Rachel Caine doesn't falter with any of the voices. She writes a love-struck teen, or a young boy suffering from PTSD as easily as she writes their mother.

Bitter Falls can be read as a standalone - recaps and explanations are giving to help you understand a little of what's gone on in the past - but I would highly recommend reading the entire series in order.

TL;DR: Kiwi's Quick Take

What I Loved: Rachel Caine gives us yet another fast-paced, action-packed and twisty thriller with Bitter Falls. There are a lot of threads, but each one ties together nicely.
What I Didn't Love:
The ending felt a little rushed, though not drastically so. And while not a complaint, I have to say that as much as I look forward to reading about Gwen Proctor, that woman has been through some stuff. Couldn't we just take a chapter out and send her on a nice wee holiday in the Bahamas or somewhere? :-)
Conclusion: An absolute gem of a book with the same well-written characters and fast-paced action that we've come to expect from Rachel Caine. Fans of the Stillhouse Lake series will not be disappointed.

  Rachel Caine

  Bitter Falls was provided free by Thomas & Mercer (via NetGalley) in return for my honest opinion.

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