Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine is an enjoyable read but for me was probably the weakest book in the series so far. It still has the wonderful characters and is very readable but I did think the story was a little confused. It does however start to take main character Gwen in a new direction and I think there’s a lot more great books to come in this series.
Spoiler Alert: While there are no spoilers for Wolfhunter River as this is the third book in the series there may be some very mild spoilers for books one and two from here on in.
She can’t ignore a cry for help. But in this remote hunting town, it’s open season.
Gwen Proctor escaped her serial-killer husband and saved her family. What she can’t seem to outrun is his notoriety. Or the sick internet vigilantes still seeking to avenge his crimes. For Gwen, hiding isn’t an option. Not when her only mission is to create a normal life for her kids.
But now, a threatened woman has reached out. Marlene Crockett, from the remote town of Wolfhunter, is panicked for herself and her daughter. When Gwen arrives in the small, isolated rural community, Marlene is already dead—her own daughter blamed for the murder. Except that’s not the person Marlene feared at all. And Gwen isn’t leaving until she finds out who that was.
But it may already be too late. A trap has been set. And it’s poised to snap shut on everyone Gwen loves. Her stalkers are closing in. And in a town as dark as Wolfhunter, it’s so easy for them to hide…
Wolfhunter River is the third book in the Stillhouse Lake series and while I absolutely loved the first two books I have to admit that I thought second book, Killman Creek, was the end of the story. It seemed to wrap things up pretty satisfactorily leaving me wondering whether a third book was needed and where the story could possibly go next. I did consider not picking this up (I’ve found Caine has a habit of keeping series’ running longer than they should) but curiosity got the better of me and I had to know what was next for the Proctors and Sam Cade.
Unfortunately however while Wolfhunter River is an engaging and enjoyable read it lacks the punch of the first two in the series and it feels a little muddled in places. I’ve read a few reviews describing this as a sort of bridging book and I think that’s spot on.
The story picks up not long after Killman Creek and continues some of the storylines and issues from the previous books but also starts to take it in a new direction. Gwen and her family are still facing threats from associates of her serial killer ex husband and dealing with suspicion and accusations of complicity in his crimes, Gwen and Sam (brother of one of her ex husband’s victims) are trying to figure out whether they can really have a relationship, and someone from the past is making threats against them. At the same time Gwen is receiving phone calls from strangers looking for help or advice, one of which leads her to Wolfhunter River, a small town with something sinister going on.
There’s a lot going on in the story but it still manages to feel at times like there’s not much in the way of action and it becomes a little slow in places. The different storylines don’t seem to fit naturally together and it often feel like they’re competing against each other, one elbowing its way to the fore only to be shoved aside by the other a few chapters later.
That’s not to say there’s not a lot to like about this book. Caine knows how to write an engaging story and I more or less devoured this in one go. It may be a little confused in terms of plot but main character Gwen is pretty awesome and I’ve been loving watching her, and her family, develop and grow. It’s also good to see a bit more from Sam this time around, he’s an intriguing and possibly the most conflicted character.
I did get the feeling from this book that there’s a lot more to come in this series and hopefully now that the building blocks are in place it can move forward. I’m not sure I’ll stick with it but I definitely want to read the next one.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advance copy via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review.