Wednesday, June 23, 2021

ARC Review: Murder at Sunrise Lake by Christine Feehan

Murder at Sunrise Lake

Christine Feehan
Publication: Berkley; 1st edition (June 29, 2021)

Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan reaches new heights of passion and suspense in this thrilling novel that takes readers deep into the California backcountry, where a woman is tormented by visions of a killer.

It starts in her dreams. Hideous flashes from a nightmare only she can stop. Images of a murderer stalking the ones she cares about most…

Stella Harrison thought she got away from the traumas of her past. Running the Sunrise Lake resort high in the Sierra Nevada mountains has brought her peace, even though she doesn’t truly share her quiet life with anyone. Not even Sam, the hired handyman that notices everything and always seems to know exactly what she needs.

Stella doesn’t know anything about Sam’s past, but somehow over the last two years his slow, steady presence has slipped past her defenses. Still, she knows she can’t tell him about her recent premonitions. So far there’s been no murder. No body. No way to prove what’s about to happen without destroying the life she’s built for herself.

But a killer is out there. And Stella knows that this time she’ll do whatever it takes to stop him.

My Thoughts: Christine Feehan has written a thriller but not totally abandoned her paranormal roots. Stella Harrison is building her life anew in the Sierra Nevada mountains as the owner of a resort when she starts having nightmares about a serial killer who is staging his murders to look like accidents.

Unfortunately, this is not a new thing for Stella. When she was four, five and six she had the same kind of dreams showing that her father was a serial killer. Her mother denied it and forced Stella to go along with her. When he was caught, her mother committed suicide and threw Stella into the foster care system where a good placement gave her a new mother-figure and therapy. 

When she was fourteen or fifteen she began having nightmares of serial killings again. Only this time her foster mother believed her even when the police did not. When this killer was caught, Stella was glad to be able to go to college and run to the Sierras to build a new life. 

But now the nightmares are back...,

She believes that no one knows about her past. She has formed a new group of friends who all want a new start in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. She even has the beginnings of a romantic relationship with Sam Rossi who is her quiet, but extremely competent, handyman at the resort. Sam is also a man with a hidden past. 

In fact, all of her circle of friends have hidden pasts in addition to being extremely competent, wealthy, and physically attractive. From Raine who does some secret work for the government to Zehra who fled an arranged marriage in Azerbaijan, Vienna who is a surgical nurse and world class poker player to Harlow who is a Senator's daughter who has nothing to do with her father and Shabina who runs the Sunrise Café and is the daughter of a man who's called in to fight oil well fires all over the world. 

Along with Sam and her circle of friends, she determines to find and stop the serial killer who seems to be obsessed with her. I liked the way her nightmares gave her more and more clues about the crimes. I liked the way her relationship with Sam developed. I liked gradually learning more about Sam's secret past. I liked that most of the characters had dogs including Stella's Airedale Bailey. 

The story did have some problem for me. First of all, the story seemed bogged down by repetition and over-abundant description. The story would be moving along and then it would come to a dead halt by paragraph long descriptions of each of Stella's posse. Then it would get going again and stop for very detailed descriptions of the scenery and how much Stella loves the security of her new home. There would be descriptions and repetitions of the descriptions of some of the problems Stella had with the people who came to her resort. At least three times, she muses on how alcohol and water don't go together when she is thinking about the dangers around her.

It was a readable and exciting story. I would have liked it a little better if the characters would have been more realistic. It seems like everyone in town was beautiful, brilliant, and rich - and had secret pasts. 

Favorite Quote:
"Do you think any of us comes from normal? I mean anybody alive? Do we even know what normal is, or do we just make it up in our heads because the movies and television convinced us there is a normal?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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