Over the last year, I have just fallen in love with reading new (to me) authors. I noticed this book on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting. I had never heard of Charlie Donlea and I'm betting most readers haven't since this was his debut novel but the description sounded good so I gave it a shot! And man am I glad I did, Donlea, you are a gem! I loved Summit Lake!!
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…
I don't give 5 stars easily, you have to work for them but Donlea totally deserves it with this breakout book that was released in January.
First I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers, Kensington Books, for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I definitely would, it has been a while since I have enjoyed an unknown author like I did this one. If you’re reading this Charlie…your debut novel was amazing, seriously amazing! I devoured this book in a handful of sittings. The only reason I put it down was the fact that I had to work. If you could picture me putting my make up on with one hand and holding my Kindle with the other hand….that seriously happened! This book was nearly impossible to put down. I hope I can reiterate how wonderful this book was.
If I had to critique this hard, the only thing I want more info on is did Becca save who she wanted to save. I’m trying to be vague there to not give too much away. I think it’s implied that she succeeded but you never directly get affirmation. The other thing I would love more info on is why the cover up? Who wanted to keep these things a secret and why? That is all I was lacking in closure. This book though, it has everything….love, loss, fear, jealousy, anger, crazy exes, friends, fun, and plenty of secrets. I applaud you, Donlea!