I’m very pleased to be part of Harlequin Trade Publishing’s 2020 Summer Reads Blog Tour for Mysteries and Thrillers.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Stranger in the Lake!
Thank you to Harlequin Books for inviting me on the blog tour!
Special thanks to Kimberly Belle, Harlequin Books, and NetGalley for the privilege of previewing this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: June 9, 2020
“That’s the thing about lies, that they demand commitment.” — Stranger in the Lake
When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.
At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.
As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.
I’ve read two of Kimberly Belle’s books before this one – The Marriage Lie and Dear Wife (my review here). I enjoyed both books very much, and through these stories Kimberly Belle proved that she is a master at writing psychological suspense. She has a knack of weaving likeable characters into a riveting plot that builds slowly but surely with plenty of twists and turns from start to finish.
Charlotte & Paul are newlyweds and very much in love. Paul comes from old money; Charlotte grew up in rags and a trailer. They just found out that Charlotte is pregnant and they are thrilled. Charlotte is Paul’s second wife because Paul’s first wife Katherine drowned tragically in the lake right near the majestic lake house where the newlyweds live now. Then, four years later, a dead woman is found floating under their dock in almost the exact same spot as Katherine. Coincidence?! I think not.
The atmospheric setting in this book is incredible and is the highlight of the book for me. The story takes place near the winter, and Kimberly Belle knocks it out of the park with her amazing descriptions of the Appalachians, Lake Crosby, the cold gray days, the deep dark woods, and the grand steel and glass houses along the lake. She creates a feeling of gloom, doom, and a sense of foreboding throughout the book. The descriptions of Lake Crosby seem so real that I had to look that place up. It’s not real, but Kimberly Belle definitely fooled me!
The story is told from two perspectives – the past and the present – with the present told in Charlotte’s (AKA Charlie) first person narrative, and the past narrated in third person perspective. Flipping back and forth gives the reader the full story.
Kimberly Belle’s descriptions of the mysterious dead woman made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Her writing style is very similar to Megan Miranda’s, who is an expert in building creepy vibes that make you want to check if you locked your doors when you are home alone at night. If you’ve read Megan Miranda’s work you will know what I mean.
The cast of characters surrounding Paul and Charlotte is varied and interesting. You’ll love some of them, and hate some of them, but they will all give you something to think about…. especially the Stranger in the Lake and how she got there.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“Every person has a single defining moment. A moment that veers their life in a new direction, that changes them at a cellular level and makes them question everything they thought they know, that colors every though and decision afterwards.”
“And really, when you think about it, isn’t security just another word for love?”
“Money is his love language, and he can’t see a single thing wrong with him offering it to me now in place of himself.”
“Only boring people get bored.”
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting things to change.”
“In the end, we all reap what we sow.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is about marriage, secrets, lies, betrayal, murder, memories, money, and family. It’s a page-turner and kept me guessing until the very end. I liked Dear Wife a little bit better, but this book is the perfect thing to drop into your beach bag or airplane tote.
Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out my fellow bloggers on this book tour!