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The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
Thriller

The House Across the Lake

by Riley Sager

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Quick take

Alcohol and binoculars are a potent pairing! Let the paranoia guide you through the latest chiller from Riley Sager.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy

    Creepy

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Rural_update

    Rural

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MarriageIssues

    Marriage issues

Synopsis

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.

With his trademark blend of sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy surprises, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake unveils more than one twist that will shock readers until the very last page.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The House Across the Lake.
The House Across the Lake

The lake is darker than a coffin with the lid shut.

That’s what Marnie used to say, back when we were children and she was constantly trying to scare me. It’s an exaggeration, to be sure. But not by much. Lake Greene’s water is dark, even with light trickling through it.

A coffin with the lid cracked.

Out of the water, you can see clearly for about a foot beneath the surface before it starts to get cloudy. Then inky. Then dark as a grave. It’s worse when you’re fully submerged, the shimmer of light coming from above a stark contrast to the black depths below.

When we were kids bobbing in the middle of the lake, Marnie often dared me to swim past the point of visibility until I touched bottom. I tried many times but never succeeded. Lost in the darkness, I always got disoriented, turned around, swam up when I thought I was headed down. I’d emerge breathless, confused, and slightly unnerved by the difference between water and sky. On the surface, it was bright day.

Just below, the night waited.

On shore, five houses sit beside the dark water of Lake Greene, ranging in style from comfortably quaint to conspicuously modern. In the summer, when the Green Mountain State is at full splendor and each house is packed with friends, family members, and weekenders, they glow like beacons signaling safe port. Through the windows, one can see well-lit rooms filled with people eating and drinking, laughing and arguing, playing games and sharing secrets.

It changes in the off-season, when the houses go quiet, first during the week, then on weekends as well. Not that they’re empty. Far from it. Autumn lures people to Vermont just as much as summer. But the mood is different. Muted. Solemn. By mid-October, it feels like the darkness of the lake has flooded the shore and seeped into the houses themselves, dimming their light.

This is especially true of the house directly across the lake.

Made of glass, steel, and stone, it reflects the chilly water and the gray autumn sky, using them to mask whatever might be happening inside. When the lights are on, you can see past the surface, but only so far. It’s like the lake in that regard. No matter how much you look, something just beneath the surface will always remain hidden.

I should know.

I’ve been watching.

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Why I love it

They say there’s nothing new under the sun, but in The House Across the Lake, Riley Sager manages to put a fresh spin on nearly every facet of the thriller genre. At first glance, the premise may seem familiar—Sager serves up an unreliable narrator, a spooky setting, and a series of unsolved crimes—but readers will quickly learn that nothing is quite what it seems. Each chapter turns the kaleidoscope, obliterating our preconceived ideas and ensuring that the plot twists (and yes, there is more than one!) leave us stunned.

When Casey Fletcher—a washed-up, B-level actress—is exiled to her family’s remote lake house, she plans to drink herself into oblivion in an effort to forget the traumatic death of her beloved husband. But a harrowing encounter with the supermodel who vacations across the lake sets her on a collision course with the past. Toss in a sexy neighbor, an impending storm, and some serious Rear Window vibes, and The House Across the Lake is guaranteed to make you stay up way past your bedtime.

It’s no secret that Riley Sager has established himself as a master of psychological suspense, and his considerable talent is on full display in this riveting book. Ideal for fans of Lisa Jewell, Ruth Ware, and Alex Michaelides, The House Across the Lake is a deliciously unexpected and suspenseful thriller that makes the perfect summery read.

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Member ratings (16,727)

  • Amber B.

    Trafalgar , IN

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. I loved this!! I can see why some people wouldn’t but I love that every book of his is very different! Keeps me guessing when I think I’ve figured it out! Can’t wait for his next one!!

  • Nicole S.

    Lochubuie, CO

    A completely different twist on a normal Sager novel. There were many times I was shocked. Kind of a quirky main character as well which was different. Such an interesting read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Cindy V.

    Santa Fe , NM

    I’m again in awe of the excellent writing of Riley Sager! He can spin a tale like nobody’s business! This book was so good I couldn’t put it down. And just when you think you know, you don’t. Love it!

  • Bradley S.

    Pasadena, MD

    At first I thought this was just going to be a rip-off of Rear Window. I was like “This is #OverDone!!” But then the twist happened and I was like…. “????” - then I was invested! I really liked it!

  • Erin C.

    Philadelphia, PA

    This wasn’t my favorite however the writing is top notch. Sager knows how to keep you entertained & wondering what’s going to happen next. Sager paints a picture that makes you feel like you’re there

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