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Review: ‘The House on the Lake’ is a wild, improbable ride

Review: ‘The House on the Lake’ is a wild, improbable ride

“The Dwelling Throughout the Lake” by Riley Sager (Dutton)

Casey Fletcher and her spouse Len purchased a cottage on a remote lake in Vermont as a getaway from their frantic existence in New York City. But following he drowned there, Casey chose to anesthetize her discomfort with alcoholic beverages.

As Riley Sager’s “The Dwelling Throughout the Lake” opens, Casey’s drinking has ruined her job as a Broadway performer, so she returns to the lake on your own (How is that a great notion?) to escape the blizzard of lousy publicity and to uncover a little peace. She does not.

In its place she sits, day just after working day, ingesting anything alcoholic she can get her fingers on and amusing herself by spying on her handful of neighbors with large-run binoculars. She finds herself attracted to a buff former cop now operating as a handyman at 1 of the other cottages. But the neighbors who desire her most are the husband and wife who just bought a huge, glass-front household instantly across the lake.

At evening, when inside lights make anything inside of visible, Casey spends several hours learning the inhabitants — a rich supermodel and her broke tech-executive husband.

Shortly Casey strikes up a friendship with the model, but the additional she spies on the pair, the more paranoid she gets. Just before extensive, she convinces herself that the product is being slowly and gradually poisoned by her spouse so he can get his palms on her funds.

At this position, the novel provides to brain the basic Alfred Hitchcock film “Rear Window” with a dose of “The Times of Wine and Roses” thrown in. When the design goes lacking, Casey fears she has been murdered and proceeds to look into herself, ignoring a police detective’s orders to butt out.

Casey, the narrator of the tale, is besotted and unreliable, so readers are intentionally held off equilibrium, unsure what they are intended to feel. When it is discovered that the detective suspects a serial killer is loose in the space, and when rumors unfold that the lake is haunted, the tale requires a series of unusual turns, morphing into a cross involving “Silence of the Lambs” and “The Exorcist.”

As with Sager’s very first five thrillers, the people are nicely drawn and the prose is first level. However, the reserve usually takes visitors on these types of a wild trip that some may possibly discover it too unbelievable to swallow.


Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan criminal offense novels together with “The Dread Line.”