Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle
Narrator: Xe Sands
Published by HarperAudio on June 9, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 9 hours, 39 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
I love mystery thrillers and Xe Sands so this felt like a great fit. Things felt off from the start. Poor Charlotte has always been strong and smart and capable. She is finally happy to be in a marriage where someone can take care of her sometimes and she doesn’t have to worry about having food to eat.
The town, along with her husband and his two best friends from high school, have secrets which they have held for so long. Her husband is a wealthy widower and some people look down on her or see her as a gold digger, including her mother-in-law. But she loves her husband. He also loves her.
When she finds a woman’s dead body under their dock, the same as his first wife’s death, all the old rumors of him being a murderer resurface. Old secrets start coming to light with this new homicide investigation.
I perceived one of the bad guys right away and that made for a tense reading, feeling Charlotte was in danger. I liked her relationship with Paul and her brother, Chet. It’s hard initially to tell what really happened with Paul’s story changing a bit over time. Micah, one of the best friends and now neighbor, having one idea and involved in the evidence collection. Jax, the other best friend, is a wilderness guy and hard to locate normally. Jax keeps showing up to talk to Charlotte, which people say is dangerous, but she feels safe with him.
Charlotte has good instincts. I hate that even in a good marriage, she suddenly is alone and has to take care of herself again. She holds herself back, learning and putting things together until she has to get to the truth. But that’s when she nearly dies, because the murderer is right there to keep the truth hidden.
I partially chose this audiobook because of the narrator; I am a fan of Xe Sands. Her southern mountain accent was strange to hear at first, but I got used to it quickly. We are mostly in Charlotte’s head with her thoughts and she is also primary in dialogue. The pacing was good. The voices felt authentic. I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.
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