Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Review: Still Water

I had heard of Amy Stuart's novel Still Mine when it was released back in 2016 but never did get around to reading it. (So many books, so little time.) But when I heard Still Water was being published I thought I should give it a try. And am I ever glad I did. I didn't want to put this book down and I'm sure you won't either.

Here's the synopsis:
How do you find the truth in a town full of secrets?
Clare has to find them.
Sally Proulx and her young boy have mysteriously disappeared in the stormy town of High River. Clare is hired to track them down, hoping against all odds to find them alive. But High River isn’t your typical town. It’s a place where women run to—women who want to escape their past. They run to Helen Haines, a matriarch who offers them safe haven and anonymity. Pretending to be Sally’s long-lost friend, Clare turns up and starts asking questions, but nothing prepares her for the swirl of deception and the depth of the lies.
Did Sally drown? Did her son? Was it an accident, or is their disappearance part of something bigger?
In a town where secrets are crucial to survival, everyone is hiding something. Detectives Somers and Rourke clearly have an ulterior motive beyond solving the case. Malcolm Boon, who hired Clare, knows more about her than he reveals. And Helen is concealing a tragic family history of her own. As the truth surges through High River, Clare must face the very thing she has so desperately been running from, even if it comes at a devastating cost. Compulsively gripping and twisty, Still Water is a deep dive of a thriller that will leave you breathless.
As I hadn't read the first book about Clare, I was especially paying attention to how Stuart would recap (or not) Still Mine. I think she did a great job of giving background information a new reader would need but that I don't think would bore a reader who already knows Clare's history. I definitely think you can dive into Still Water (er, no pun intended) without having read Still Mine but I think you'll have an even richer reading experience if you read both.

I was pretty much addicted to this story. It's really fast paced with all sorts of twists and turns. I found myself thinking of it often when I wasn't reading it and couldn't wait to see how it would all turn out. I really had no idea how Stuart was going to have things end up. I loved that.

There were a lot of secrets in this novel. As I said, I wasn't sure how the story would end because I really wasn't sure who to trust and who was telling even part of a truth. No one was who they seemed which made fitting the puzzle pieces together so difficult. Once I neared the end of the book I realized how easily it all came together which I think is a sign of a great mystery.

Clare was a really interesting character. I had only met her well after she had run away from her husband so I'm not totally sure of what kinds of abuse she really suffered. What I do know is that many people are and were doubting her because of her past history with drugs. It was so frustrating that so many people - including a close friend - had this bias. Almost like they thought that because she did drugs, she deserved what she got.That she wasn't totally lucid and should have been so she could fight back. And then there's the fact that her husband is telling a totally different story. It's terrifying to think that women are in these situations all the time and face so many issues when they try to tell the truth and get help.

But back to Clare. She's a smart woman who has a whole boatload of problems she's never been able to deal with properly. I think in this book she's realizing how she can take control and is sort of facing her demons head on. She still has a lot of work to do so I'm really hoping Stuart is working on another story for Clare. I'm totally invested now.

I'm hoping Still Water is a book we'll see everywhere this summer because it's so good. I was a little bit obsessed with it and Amy Stuart's writing. Pick this one up the next time you're in a bookstore or download it to your e-reader. Seriously. It's a well-told, gripping thriller that I think so many other people will love.

*An Advanced Reader Copy of this novel was sent by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

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