2020 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · psychological · thriller

New Release Book Review: Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

Title: Stranger in the Lake

Author: Kimberly Belle

Published: September 2nd 2020

Publisher: HQ Fiction – US

Pages: 304

Genres:  Fiction, Thriller, Psychological

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust – her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

Review:

‘Who is the stranger in the lake?’

The bestselling author of Dear Wife and other notable domestic thrillers returns with an addictive new novel titled, Stranger in the Lake. A stifling small town atmosphere, the discovery of a body floating in a lake, a suspect with secrets to hide and a woman determined to protect her marriage at all costs defines this explosive suspense tale from Kimberly Belle.

Charlotte takes the lead in Kimberly Belle’s new novel, Stranger in the Lake. Charlotte and her husband Paul have been the gossip of the town since Charlotte married Paul, a widower. Despite the rumours that surround them, Charlotte and Paul have forged a happy life together. However, this is about to change when Charlotte stumbles across the body of a woman floating face down in the water. Charlotte realises it is the same woman she saw her husband conversing with a day ago. The strange woman was also discovered in the same place that Paul’s first wife was found drowned. Paul denies any involvement or connection to the deceased woman, but Charlotte has her doubts. Charlotte resolves to protect her new marriage, at all costs. As Charlotte delves deeper into her husband’s movements, she uncovers secrets from the past, suspect loyalties, hidden truths and acts of concealment. The body in the water is just the start of something much bigger.

Kimberly Belle seems to have been on my radar for some time, but it took this new release, Stranger in the Lake, for me to become acquainted with this international bestselling US author’s work. It is shame it took me so long to pick up a Kimberly Belle novel, Stranger in the Lake is a fantastic read that gripped me from the opening to the close of the book.

I really appreciated the effort Kimberly Belle placed on setting her scene early on in the piece. We are provided with a thorough overview of Charlotte’s past, Charlotte’s relationship and marriage to Paul, along with his back story. It was a great way to introduce the reader to the shocking events that are to follow as this story progresses. I think Belle did a very good job of balancing just the right amount of personal back history to keep the reader informed and interested. I began to develop a solid relationship with Charlotte from the early stages of this novel and I largely stayed connected to Charlotte for the length of the Belle’s tale. I was definitely suspicious of Paul, but as the story progressed I did find my opinion of Paul altered. The intricate character dynamics, especially with the influence of the well-presented side characters of this tale helped to place Paul in different lights. I did enjoy the process of working through these characters and their motivations.

Belle clearly knows the region in which she has set her book. Lake Crosby came to light extremely well on the pages of this novel. I could picture the murky depths of this mysterious lake, full of secrets and tragedy. Belle really fired up the tension level in this department. Likewise, the author explored the ins and outs of small minded townsfolk and the gossip that often pervades tight knit locales, such as the community represented in Stranger in the Lake. It added yet another intriguing layer to this compelling tale.

The mystery at hand and the strange woman found floating in the lake was the prime reason for sticking by this novel for the duration. I surmised, theorised, speculated and mulled over this one quite a bit. With plenty of plot diversions, red herrings, startling revelations, secret reveals and more defining this perplexing tale, it took some sleuthing to finally work out what was happening! I do appreciate novels that take me for a bit of ride and Stranger in the Lake certainly provided plenty of entertainment value.

With themes of past trauma, failed parenting, relationships, friendships, manipulation and small town gossip circulating around Stranger in the Lake, domestic thriller enthusiasts will lap up all Kimberly Belle’s new novel has to offer.

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle was published on 2nd September 2020 by HQ Fiction – US. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Stranger in the Lake, Kimberly Belle, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Harper Collins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

3 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

  1. Glad you enjoyed it Amanda – I discovered Kimberly with her previous novel Dear Wife – and she has a back catalogue as well. I interviewed her on our Book Matters Podcast – have you had a listen? If not here’s the link: https://bit.ly/3iAea7q

    Like

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this, I’m finding domestic thrillers aren’t my cup of tea which is a shame as there are so many of them I see people recommending. This sounds quite similar to one I tried to pick up last year, I can’t remember the name though and it will bug me all day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Claire, I enjoyed it enough to want to seek out the author’s backlist so I think its a sign of a good read! That’s a shame you can’t get into domestic thrillers, it certainly is a popular genre.

      Let me know if you end up recalling the name of the book similar to this one!

      Like

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