Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine

Heartbreak Bay (Stillhouse Lake, #5)

by Rachel Caine

An Amazon Charts and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

They’re hunting a killer so silent, so invisible, that his unspeakable crimes are the only proof he exists.

A car submerged in a remote pond. The bodies of two girls strapped into their seats. The mystery of their mother, vanished without a trace, leads Gwen Proctor and Kezia Claremont into dangerous territory.

On the surface, Gwen’s life is good—two children approaching adulthood, a committed partner, and a harrowing past dead and gone. But that past is attracting the attention of someone invisible…and unstoppable. Trouble’s just beginning. So is the body count in this backwoods Tennessee town.

As threats mount and Gwen’s hunted by an enemy who pulls all the strings, Kezia has her back. But working to solve these vicious and unreasonable crimes will expose them both to a killer they can’t for the life of them see coming.

Reviewed by Quirky Cat on

4 of 5 stars


I received a copy of Heartbreak Bay in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Heartbreak Bay is the fifth, and final, novel in Rachel Caine's Stillhouse Lake series. This is a novel that I was admittedly a little hesitant to pick up, because I wasn't ready to say goodbye. Not to the series, and not to the author.

Gwen's life has never been the same. Not since that fateful moment, when her (now ex) husband was revealed to be a serial killer. Ever since then, Gwen and her family have been in survival mode. However, for a moment, it seemed like things were finally looking up for them.

That is, right up until the bodies of two young girls were found. While there's no connection to Gwen or her monster of an ex, it still feels personal. Likely because one of her friends took it so hard, and refused to put the case down. Even when those around her started falling victim as well.

“It all starts so sweetly, because on Friday night, the adoption papers come through.”

Gwen has got to be one of the most determined and driven women I have ever read about, and I feel like that is saying something. In Heartbreak Bay she has yet again taken on a case that could have easily been somebody else's problem, and all because it was the right thing to do.

Naturally, said right thing put her right in the path of danger. Again. It seems to be a habit of hers, at this point. Then again, there's just as good of a chance that she would never have been left alone while this case was active. Not with the way internet trolls behave.

Honestly, I can't emphasize how much of a bittersweet read this novel was. Yes, it was intense and it was brilliant. It portrayed the best that Gwen and her family have to offer, and I loved it. But it is also the last novel that Rachel Caine wrote (to my knowledge), and that just breaks me.

I don't think it's possible to prepare oneself for the amount of feels this novel will bring, for that reason alone. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried at the end, not because of the way the novel ended, but simply because it ended.

Gwen's story hit a new high in Heartbreak Bay, and in many ways I think that this was a beautiful point for her story to end. I adore that Kezia also had more of a role to play in this novel, and it was a delight to read about her. Alongside Sam and the kids, of course. They're all brilliant characters, and I will miss them dearly.

They won't be the only ones I miss.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 8 March, 2021: Finished reading
  • 8 March, 2021: Reviewed