Summit Lake, Charlie Donlea

A cabin sits on the edge of a fog covered lake.

So I’ve been lucky enough to be an ARC reader for Donlea’s newer works, and because I love his writing so much, I’ve wanted to work my way through his back catalog. This one is well-reviewed, so I want to get right into my thoughts.

Told in alternating points of view, Donlea tells the story of Becca’s death, working backward through Kelsey’s investigation. I think the fact Kelsey could relate so well to Becca helped strengthen her resolve and resilience in investigating her death. I enjoyed that we didn’t have clear-cut suspects for most of the book. But then we saw possible suspects unveiled slowly, and we didn’t know who we could pinpoint as the “it” person because of the careful, skillfully crafted storytelling.

I always love how Donlea’s books come together. They’re always incredibly well thought out, and the storytelling is masterful. Summit Lake is a super fun, addicting read that hooks the reader from the very start. I look forward to reading more of his back catalog.

Summit Lake is available on Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N.

About the Book:
Set in a small, picturesque North Carolina town, Charlie Donlea’s suspenseful debut novel tells the haunting story of a murdered law school student, the reporter assigned to her story—and the intimate connection that comes when the living walk in the footsteps of the dead.

“No suspects.  No persons of interest.  Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.”

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place, with charming stilt houses dotted along the pristine water. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student, was brutally murdered in one of those houses. The daughter of a powerful attorney, Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Now, while the town reels with grief and shocked residents gather to share their theories, the police are baffled.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the determined efforts to keep the case quiet, all hint at something far more than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper, pushing on despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and the secrets she was keeping—the more convinced she becomes that learning the truth about Becca could be the key to overcoming her own dark past…


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