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The House Across the Lake
Cover of The House Across the Lake
The House Across the Lake
A Novel
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Named a most anticipated summer book by USA Today, People, E! News, Cosmopolitan, PureWow, CNN.com, New York Post, CrimeReads, POPSUGAR, and more 

The bestselling author of Final Girls and Survive the Night is back with his “best plot twist yet.” (People, "Best Summer Books")

Be careful what you watch for . . .

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 bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; 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 isn’t as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.
 
Packed with sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy plot twists, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake is the ultimate escapist read . . . no lake house required.
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Named a most anticipated summer book by USA Today, People, E! News, Cosmopolitan, PureWow, CNN.com, New York Post, CrimeReads, POPSUGAR, and more 

The bestselling author of Final Girls and Survive the Night is back with his “best plot twist yet.” (People, "Best Summer Books")

Be careful what you watch for . . .

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 bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; 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 isn’t as perfect as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.
 
Packed with sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy plot twists, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake is the ultimate escapist read . . . no lake house required.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    Now

     

    I  stare at the detective on the other side of the table, an untouched mug of coffee in front of me. The steam rising from it gives her a gauzy air of mystery. Not that she needs help in that regard. Wilma Anson possesses a calm blankness that rarely changes. Even at this late hour and soaked by the storm, she remains unperturbed.

     

    "Have you watched the Royce house at all this evening?" she says.

     

    "Yes." There's no point in lying.

     

    "See anything unusual?"

     

    "More unusual than everything I've already seen?" I say.

     

    A nod from Wilma. "That's what I'm asking."

     

    "No." This time a lie is required. I've seen a lot this evening. More than I ever wanted to. "Why?"

     

    A gust of wind lashes rain against the French doors that lead to the back porch. Both of us pause a moment to watch the droplets smacking the glass. Already, the storm is worse than the TV weatherman said it would be-and what he had predicted was already severe. The tail end of a Category 4 hurricane turned tropical storm as it swerved like a boomerang from deep inland back to the North Atlantic.

     

    Rare for mid-October.

     

    Rarer still for eastern Vermont.

     

    "Because Tom Royce might be missing," Wilma says.

     

    I tear my gaze from the French doors' rain-specked panes to give Wilma a look of surprise. She stares back, unflappable as ever.

     

    "Are you sure?" I say.

     

    "I was just there. The house is unlocked. That fancy car of his is still in the driveway. Nothing inside seems to be missing. Except for him."

     

    I turn again to the French doors, as if I'll be able to see the Royce house rising from the lake's opposite shore. Instead, all I can make out is howling darkness and lightning-lit flashes of water whipped into a frenzy by the wind.

     

    "Do you think he ran?"

     

    "His wallet and keys are on the kitchen counter," Wilma says. "It's hard to run without cash or a car. Especially in this weather. So I doubt it."

     

    I note her word choice. Doubt.

     

    "Maybe he had help," I suggest.

     

    "Or maybe someone made him disappear. You know anything about that?"

     

    My mouth drops open in surprise. "You think I'm involved in this?"

     

    "You did break into their house."

     

    "I snuck in," I say, hoping the distinction will lessen the crime in Wilma's eyes. "And that doesn't mean I know anything about where Tom is now."

     

    Wilma remains quiet, hoping I'll say more and possibly incriminate myself. Seconds pass. Lots of them. All announced by the ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room, which acts as a steady beat backing the song of the storm. Wilma listens to it, seemingly in no rush. She's a marvel of composure. I suspect her name has a lot to do with that. If a lifetime of Flintstones jokes teaches you anything, it's deep patience.

     

    "Listen," Wilma says after what feels like three whole minutes. "I know you're worried about Katherine Royce. I know you want to find her. So do I. But I already told you that taking matters into your own hands won't help. Let me do my job, Casey. It's our best chance of getting Katherine back alive. So if you know anything about where her husband is, please tell me."

     

    "I have absolutely no clue where Tom Royce could be." I lean forward, my palms flat against the table, trying to summon the same opaque energy Wilma's putting off. "If you don't believe me, you're...

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2022
    Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author's latest serving of subtly ironic suspense. Sager's debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels--Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) --have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the "America's sweetheart" status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you're getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom's marriage. Then Katherine disappears....It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don't quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read. A weird, wild ride.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 25, 2022
    The setup of Rear Window serves as the framework for this outstanding novel of suspense from bestseller Sager (Survive the Night). Actor Casey Fletcher has become an alcoholic in the wake of the recent death of her screenwriter husband, who slipped out one morning to go fishing at their vacation home on Vermont’s Lake Greene, fell into the water, and drowned. After Casey is fired from her latest Broadway role for showing up drunk for a performance, she returns to the Vermont house. One day, while on her third or maybe fourth bourbon, Casey spots someone who may be drowning in the middle of the lake. She jumps into her motorboat and rescues a neighbor, former supermodel Katherine Royce. The grateful celebrity befriends her savior, who soon becomes convinced that Katherine’s life remains at risk. While spying on Katherine’s home, Casey comes to suspect that Katherine’s husband is plotting to murder her. Sager brilliantly misdirects readers while playing fair with them. Newcomers and fans both will be eager to see what he pulls off in his next book. Agent: Michelle Brower, Trellis Literary.

  • Booklist

    May 15, 2022
    "The lake is darker than a coffin with the lid shut." So begins Sager's sixth thriller (following Survive the Night, 2021), an homage to Hitchcock's Rear Window that effectively uses the voyeur theme. Casey Fletcher, actress and recent widow, escapes to her family's lake house amid a slew of unflattering tabloid stories and in the wake of being fired from her latest role. With little to do but drink, she spends her days spying on the new couple across the lake, ex-model Katherine Royce and her husband, Tom. When Casey saves Katherine from drowning, a friendship blossoms, until Katherine goes missing and Casey suspects that Tom is involved. Sager is terrific at creating suspense within a confined, sometimes claustrophobic setting, and he makes the most of his unreliable narrator. Fans of stories that keep the heart pounding and the mind engaged will enjoy this one, although some may find a few of the twists hard to believe. Still, those willing to suspend disbelief will be happy to follow this wild ride from one of the genre's most entertaining authors.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2022

    Ever since her husband died unexpectedly, Casey Fletcher has been on a downward spiral, using alcohol as her crutch. When she is fired from a Broadway play for showing up intoxicated and social media blows it up, her film star mother gives her an ultimatum: rehab or retreat to their secluded lake house in Vermont. Casey chooses the lake. Bored and drunk, she has monotonous days, and the front porch becomes her safe place, where she can stare out at the dark surface of Lake Green and try to forget. One morning, she sees a body floating on the water, and without thinking, dives in and saves the person. The drowning victim is her new neighbor, Katherine, a famous model married to Tom, a tech millionaire. The women strike up a friendship, leading Casey to "peep" on her neighbors. Casey becomes obsessed with watching them through her binoculars. When Katherine suddenly goes missing, the story becomes a mix of Rear Window and The Girl on the Train. VERDICT Casey as the unreliable narrator mixed with suspicious neighbors, supernatural undertones, and multiple blindsiding twists, means Sager (Survive the Night) has written another winner.--Marianne Fitzgerald

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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