A #bookreview of Rachel Caine’s Heartbreak Bay #thriller

book reviews

Ciao, amici! I’ve got another book review in the psychological thriller/serial killer genre to share with you today.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Bittersweet, Blockbuster Ending to the Series

It’s not often I read a first-person/present-tense story and find myself swept away. Usually the POV and tense intrude and interrupt my enjoyment, though I don’t penalize a book or author for my personal preferences. Not so with this series. I’m always sucked in by Caine’s writing, and book five was no exception.

These characters are so compelling to me because they’re everyday people who are living extraordinary lives. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. The horrors the heroes have suffered make most people’s problems seem mundane. And the villains in these stories are truly vile.

In this book, there are two mysteries running concurrently—who killed two young girls near Stillhouse Lake and who is harassing Gwen Proctor’s family. But it’s never that simple. As the investigation continues, more crimes are unearthed, more bodies are found, and Gwen’s family is in more danger than ever.

While I did fit the pieces of the puzzle together before the reveal, I still raced to the climax to see how it all ended. The author did an excellent job of tying up all the loose threads while still leaving the series open enough to continue. Sadly, fans know that won’t be happening, and if they didn’t, they only had to read her heart-wrenching author’s note to learn this was the final installment.

It’s with a heavy heart that I give this book five bittersweet stars.


In case you don’t know or haven’t guessed, the author died shortly after finishing this book. (Last year, on November 1, 2020.) I was a fan of her work and was crushed when I heard. The author’s note at the end of the novel was particularly poignant.

If you’ve ever read a Rachel Caine book or are interested in this series, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s talk about it below. Salute!

Published by Staci Troilo

A writer fascinated with interpersonal relationships, the importance of family, and the relevance of heritage. Learn more at https://stacitroilo.com.

38 thoughts on “A #bookreview of Rachel Caine’s Heartbreak Bay #thriller

    1. I really loved her writing style and enjoyed the books very much. But I do like dark stories. I’m not sure how twisted a tale you care for. I recommend her without reservation if you like your stories on the darker side.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh no! I didn’t hear of her passing. I have Stillhouse Lake on my Kindle, which came with the audiobook. Haven’t gotten to it yet, but your review makes me want to bump it up the list. Thanks, Staci!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really loved all five books. I think you’ll enjoy the series, too, Sue. But yes, her passing does put a pall on things. The author’s note at the end of book five was particularly difficult to read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d heard of her passing, and it’s so sad. I’m sure if I read that note at the end of the book, it would have brought tears to my eyes. I did read the first book in this series but the crimes were a bit too dark for me. She and her work will be missed by many. I’m glad you found the whole series excellent reading,

    Strangely, I have become a huge fan of first person present tense (even present tense in general). Both perspectives seem to lend well to psychological suspense.

    A poignant review, Staci.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you don’t like it when things get too dark. She probably isn’t the author for you (though Teri did point out she has a YA series you might like; I haven’t read it). I did enjoy the series and am sad to know she’s gone. Thanks, Mae.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful review, Staci. This is my favorite type of book, where ordinary people must rise to the challenge. I think each of us hopes we will so there must be a wide audience for this plotline. How sad that the author passed. I didn’t know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This book and series sound absolutely wonderful. Definitely a story I would enjoy. And how poignant to know this will be the last book. I can only imagine how moving her author’s note must be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I too struggle with first-person POV, present-tense stories, Staci. I think it’s because it’s such a limited modem. This, however, sounds like a riveting story, and how sad to learn that the author passed away. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to hate first-person, present-tense stories. Maybe I’m getting used to them. But I didn’t have a problem with them at all through this series.

      And yes, news of her passing was shocking. It’s quite sad, indeed.

      Like

  6. I was so saddened to hear about her death and only learned about her battle with cancer a few months before her death. I haven’t read any of her adult books, but her YA Great Library series is a favorite, and I have another YA sci-fi to start.

    Liked by 1 person

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