Review: LAKE SILENCE by Anne Bishop

Publisher: ACE Books/Berkeley Publishing
Page Count: 430
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It

a1c5ys3btxlFor those of you who have read the previous books of THE OTHERS and enjoyed them, good news!  You’ll find another novel that fits in right alongside its predecessors in terms of tone, content and characters.  Newcomers to the series can mostly dive right in, as long as you’re prepared for small references to events from the end of the last series.  So what can you expect from LAKE SILENCE?  An engrossing supernatural thriller chock full of found family and fearsome predatory creatures.

On an alternate version of Earth known as Namid, supernatural creatures do not live in hiding, but are the dominant species controlling the world.  Humans live in a handful of cities and communities that are only allowed to flourish so long as they remain in the good graces of their supernatural neighbors, collectively referred to as the Others, or terra indigene. These creatures range from shape shifters to vampires to Elemental beings.  One year ago, a human hate group slaughtered several shifters, resulting in the Great Predation, a retaliatory massacre by the most vicious of the Others that resulted in whole towns being wiped off the map.

During the uneasy peace that followed, human Vicki DeVine divorced her husband and moved to a small community near Lake Silence called Sproinger. Hoping to get away from her abusive ex and provide a living for herself, she’s spent the last several months fixing up The Jumble, a small dilapidated lakeside resort she received in the divorce proceedings.  What Vicki doesn’t know is that The Jumble was originally created centuries ago as a place to bring Others and humans together to foster friendship and understanding, and that, by restoring the resort, she has taken up the mantle as caretaker of this meeting ground.  All of this becomes painfully apparent when a dead human is found on her land, revealing a conspiracy to destroy everything The Jumble stands for.

There’s a common thread in the book of THE OTHERS, that the key to survival is honesty and respect towards anyone you interact with, human and supernatural alike. If that sounds a bit schmaltzy, don’t run away; the penalty for breaking your word with a shifter or elemental is usually a violent and gruesome death.  There’s a tension with every interaction with an Other that if you don’t behave yourself, they might decide you aren’t worth the space you’re taking up.  Those who earn the trust of the Others, however, earn a place in a collective family that fiercely protects its own and accepts both the strengths and weaknesses of its members.   Lead character Vicki DeVine suffers from anxiety attacks due to ten years of being married to an abusive husband.  Although the Others are perplexed by her behavior at first, they try to understand it and prevent triggers that might threaten her. It’s these acts of compassion that gives me the warm fuzzies and finds me returning to this series again and again.  Even though many of these characters have teeth and claws they won’t hesitate to use, these books genuinely revel in people helping each other.

As mentioned in the intro, if you’re returning to the Others, you will find more of what you have seen before in previous books, something that might cause people to bounce if they were looking for a fresh way into the series.  The repetition only bothered me slightly as these books just push all the right buttons for me.  What bumped a little harder for me was the villains. They were of the moustache-twirling variety, all of them one-dimensional bad guys with the overall characteristic of “we’re going to take what we want, try and stop us.”  The reality is, these villains are ultimate Bad Guy MacGuffins, here just to bring our heroes together, to give them something to unite against.  It’s not a flaw big enough to destroy my enjoyment of the book, but one that stops this read short of a five star rating.

LAKE SILENCE was a return to a world I’m always happy to visit. If you enjoy books of supernatural creatures and people working together to stop the idiocy of other humans, I recommend not only this, but every other book in the series.  THE OTHERS are in some ways a modern day fairy tale, a reminder that there is danger out there in the darkness, but if you behave as a decent human you can get through most of it. And if you don’t behave…well, don’t let yourself get caught in the forest after dark.

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