Page Count 300
Publication date July 2022
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
-Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple who live in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is rich; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.
One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage is not as perfect and placid as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she uncovers eerie, darker truths that turn a tale of voyeurism and suspicion into a story of guilt, obsession and how looks can be very deceiving
Sager is the king of misdirection and even though I’m well aware of this from all of his previous novels, I’m still shocked by every single book.
Now because I am that breed of weirdo, I decided to read The House Across The Lake whilst vacationing in a house, on a lake!
The atmosphere was perfect, as if I was sitting in the story itself matching everything Sager had described to the world around me.
I’m not a big drinker but anyone who struggles should probably skip this one as the alcoholism is very heavily featured, I found I was constantly getting a thirst myself whilst reading how much Casey knocks back.
We’re given Casey’s history in a unique manner; ‘How To Become Tabloid Fodder In Seven Easy Steps’. Sager has Casey imagine how she’d explain her life from a gossip reporter’s perspective, I thought this an excellent way to avoid an info dump whilst neatly summarising the details we need.
Told from Casey’s perspective in first, we switch between present day and events of the previous week when she first meets her neighbours Tom and Katherine Royce.
The pacing is bang on and I was quickly invested in both Casey and Katherine’s characters, very much enjoying the instant friendship they built upon circumstantial kinship. It was interesting to read about the ‘normal’ lives of celebrities when outside of the limelight, or fallen from grace as Casey had. Sager did a fantastic job with her character development.
At first it seems we’re in for a well written, yet well trodden trope; nosy but unreliable main character spies on her neighbours and jumps to conclusions. Oh but there is much, much more to this story. I urge all thriller, mystery and suspense fans to pick up The House Across The Lake.