Monday, 8 June 2015

5* review: The Lake House by Helen Phifer (Annie Graham Book 4)

The Lake House is the fourth chilling thriller in the best selling 'Annie Graham' series by Helen Phifer, author of The Ghost HouseThe Secrets of the Shadows and The Forgotten Cottage.

Elderly Martha Beckett is a prisoner in her own home, and has been ever since her older brother disappeared at just nine years old. He went to hide in the cellar and never came back. And now Martha has sworn to protect anyone else from the evils lurking just below her floorboards. But whatever it is, has woken up – and is hungry again…

When she calls the police for help, Annie Graham is the first to respond. Now Annie Ashworth, she is happily married to fellow police officer Will, with a gorgeous home and a job she loves. But then she hears the news – serial killer Henry Smith has escaped from his mental hospital and is on the run. So when a severed head lands at her colleague Jake’s feet – they can only assume that Henry is back to his old tricks. Last time he nearly killed Annie, and this time she’ll bet he wants to finish the job.

So Annie now has two monsters to track down, before they kill again. And time is running out…

Let me just begin by saying although this is book four in a series, in my opinion it's a perfect standalone read, though you may want to go back to the beginning to see where Annie's story began...

The Lake House begins with a chilling prologue, backtracking one hundred years to a creepy carnival where there is a devastating fire. Martha and her sister survive, so does an evil being with murderous intent...

Back to the modern day and Annie Graham (Ashworth) is in danger again, the conclusion of book 3 - The Forgotten Cottage saw obsessive serial killer, Henry Smith on the loose and after Annie yet again, this time with the help of psycho in training, his nurse Megan. Annie and new husband Will quickly realise after the discovery of a severed head, that there is a very good chance it is Henry and he has found which police force Annie has relocated to.

Annie responds to a call out at elderly Martha Beckett's house, a man has gone missing after searching for a stench (and planning on robbing the old lady) in the cellar. It is clear that all is not well down there and with a flash back chapter on the disappearance of Martha's brother in their childhood it is soon evident what is occurring. 

So begins Annie's nightmare, the race is on for Annie's nearest and dearest to find Henry before he finds Annie, to stop the death toll mounting both from the crazy serial killers and the demon in the cellar and to try and rid poor Martha Beckett from the beast within her house.

As always I adored this part of the Annie Graham series, I love the plot, the characters and Phifer's knack of telling a scary story. They really are my most anticipated books and I get hugely excited when a new one is due. With The Lake House I was not as terrified as with the other three, but I think that comes down to my absolute fear of ghosts and not the lack of fear that is built within the story. The flashbacks to Martha Beckett's young life were really excellent and provided a brilliant element within the plot.

As always a FABULOUS read from Phifer and highly recommended!

Read my interview with Helen and my 5* review of her debut novel, The Ghost House

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