Summit Lake

Summit LakeSummit Lake by Charlie Donlea
Published by Kensington on January 26th 2016
Pages: 320
ISBN: 1496700988
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Summit Lake beings with the brutal rape and murder of first year law student, Becca Eckersley. Becca was staying at her parent’s home in Summit Lake while studying for her final exams. She diligently followed her parent’s rules of keeping the doors locked and the security system on, until that fateful night when someone she knew knocked on the door. She turned off the alarm and opened the door not knowing the danger she was letting inside the home. Now the town of Summit Lake is reeling. As the town is coping with their first ever murder, the state police and journalists have arrived to investigate and cover the case.

Kelsey Castle is a well-known investigator reporter who has been assigned to cover Becca’s murder. As Kelsey begins to interview both the residents of Summit Lake and local authorities, it becomes clear that Becca had secrets. As Kelsey gets help from a local doctor and cafe worker, she learns more about Becca’s life, her academics, her love life and her friendships.

As always, I put my super sleuth hat on while reading books in this genre. I had a working theory as to who attacked Becca – which was WRONG! What worked for me was the alternating story-lines detailing both Becca’s life prior to her murder and Kelsey’s investigation after Becca’s murder. The Author did a great job showing us Becca’s life prior to her murder. The reader gets to see her interacting with her college friends and the relationships she forged with them. The reader also gets to see Kelsey investigate Becca’s murder and the reader knows that Kelsey recently came back to work after some time off work. Investigating Becca’s murder gets her back to work and away from her co-worker’s eyes and sympathetic comments concerning her absence from work. Plus, Kelsey becomes instantly intrigued as she speaks with locals and begins to get a picture of what happened that terrible night.

There is a KILLER of a TWIST in this book which leads to a HUGE “Holy Crap!” moment. The Author pulled that one out of his hat. He also pulled off the perfect pacing and unraveling of clues. This book never lagged for me. It never felt slow or dragged out. I felt as if everything occurred naturally and the ending did not feel rushed. Through Kelsey’s investigation and Becca’s pre-murder chapters, the reader is made aware of things/events/relationships in Becca’s life which led her to be at the lake house that fateful night. It also provides Kelsey with more possible suspects and people to speak with concerning Becca and her life.

There are some unanswered questions with this book. I won’t point them out, so I don’t give any spoilers. However, I would have liked to have had everything explained and summed up. Plus, the people in this town seemed a little too happy to assist Kelsey with her investigation. I get that she is a known reporter and people might be more willing to speak with her but several people, with careers and reputations to lose, seemed to throw caution to the wind and violated all kinds of privacy laws to help Kelsey with her investigation.

There is one scene I want to say more about, but I won’t. Okay, I will but to say it didn’t sit right with me and I should have paid more attention to that thought…how’s that for vague…I wish I would have thought about that more.

Be warned – the opening scene is quite brutal. It may be a trigger for some.

Overall, a very enjoyable read that had me turning the pages to see if my theory was correct (it wasn’t), to learn the identity of the killer (I did). I was fully invested in learning the identity of the killer and was captivated by the plot. Again, this book may have some triggers for some including rape and murder.


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