Sunday, October 8, 2023

REVIEW: The House Across the Lake (book) by Riley Sager

The House Across the Lake is a thriller. It could also be considered horror. I bought my copy new.


Casey Fletcher is a widowed actress whose drinking problem, acquired after her husband's death, has all but ended her career. Her mother has banished her to the family vacation home by Lake Greene, but since that's also where Casey's husband, Len, drowned to death, it's questionable whether she's any better off there than she was when she was in the public eye.

Casey is trying out Len's old binoculars when she sees someone drowning in the lake. Thankfully, she gets there in time to save famous model Katherine Royce's life. Katherine and her husband Tom have recently moved into the house across the lake from Casey's, and Casey finds herself spying on the couple. Gradually, she comes to the conclusion that there's something going on in the Royce household, and when Katherine seemingly disappears, Casey is sure Tom had something to do with it.

Maybe I've been reading too many thrillers, but the first half of this book felt really stale. The perpetually drunk main character (I don't drink, and even I felt like I might go into sympathetic liver failure while reading about Casey's constant drinking). The suspicious interactions between husband and wife. The scene shifts between past and present, with an omission so obvious that the book's first twist felt half-hearted at best.

There was more going on than there initially appeared to be, and although those developments did take me by surprise, I'm not sure I can say that they were any good. Mostly, they just struck me as ridiculous. That feeling only grew more pronounced when Sager managed to fit a few more twists in before the book's final pages.

It wasn't necessarily a terrible way to spend a few hours, but overall my feelings are lukewarm at best.

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