Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine

Bitter Falls

Rachel Caine
Narrators: Emily Sutton-Smith, Michael Crouch, Dan Jon Miller, Lauren Ezzo, Will Ropp
Series: Stillhouse Lake, Book 4
Publication: Brilliance Audio (January 21, 2020)
Length: 11 hours and 33 minutes

Description: 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?

My Thoughts: Gwen Proctor is trying to make a new life for herself. As the wife of a serial killer who has become a target for all sorts of creeps on the internet who can't believe she didn't know anything about her ex-husband's crimes, Gwen faces all sorts of harassment. Luckily, she has a job as a private investigator and a boss who believes in her. 

Her children Lanny and Connor also face a lot of harassment. Both are bullied at school. Things come to a head during an active shooter drill when the school admin is crazy enough to play sounds of gunshots and Connor suffers a PTSD episode and manages to break the jaw of one of the school bullies who was trying to get him to move. 

The broken-jawed bully happens to be related to the Belldenes who are the local drug dealers and who have a lot of influence in town. They pressure Gwen to move away immediately because her notoriety is bringing too much publicity and scrutiny that they fear will spill over onto their activities.

Lanny sneaks out of the house with her friend Vee to attend a party and finds herself in the middle of a scene where another local drug dealer has attacked a girl who owed him money. The dealer works for the Belldenes and now wants Lanny dead too. This adds to the pressure from the Belldenes to get Gwen and her family out of town.

Meanwhile, Gwen is working on a very cold case about the disappearance of a college student named Remy Landry. The young man's been gone for three years but someone has hired the agency she works for to look for him again. Gwen's investigation leads to a crazy cult related to the cult they already disrupted in Wolfhunter. And when the cultists kidnap her partner Sam and son Connor, Gwen has to find a woman who was involved with the missing college student before the cultists kill the ones she loves.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints: Gwen, Sam, Connor and Lanny. It is narrated by four people who each portray one of the viewpoint characters and who do a wonderful time elucidating their personalities and ramping up the tension in the story. The story was exciting and filled with action and with tension. It was an excellent story and very well narrated.  

Favorite Quote:
The internet enables and organizes hate very effectively; it lets people believe they're righteous warriors for justice when in reality they're just clicking keys. All the emotional hit of adrenaline, none of the risk.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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