Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea (audio)

Title: Summit Lake
Author: Charlie Donlea
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Published: January 2016, Brilliance Audio
Length: 8 hours 12 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible

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....

My thoughts: I picked this up on a whim when it was an Audible Daily Deal of the Day and I ended up really enjoying it and finding a new author to follow - so it was a win-win for me! I have to say I have really had some good luck with those Audible Daily Deal of the Days at times - be sure to check them out if you use Audible.

I love a good mystery and that's exactly what this was - a solid mystery with a really good twist! I loved the way the story alternates between Kelsey and Becca's point of view - this really helps to fill in some pieces of the puzzle. Kelsey's part is told in the present as she is sent to Summit Lake to go investigate what really happened to Becca. Kelsey has recently suffered some type of trauma and while we aren't initially given all the details, as time goes on, little bits eventually come to light. Becca's part is told in the past - and these are quiet enlightening. Just like with Kelsey's past, very slowly, we get the whole picture of what really happened to Becca - and it's definitely not what you might be expecting!

This book is filled with secrets and twists and turns that you don't see coming. It's a relatively fast-moving book, especially as things start coming together and you start to realize just what is going on. The way things are revealed, slowly and bit by bit is agonizing, but it's so intense, that you don't even realize it. It's multi-layered and haunting and stays with you long after you finish it.

As debut novels go, this one was a hit! And I already have his next book, The Girl Who Was Taken, on my to-read list - and he will be at BookExpo later this month! I can't wait to meet him - can we say fan-girl moment!!!

Audio thoughts:
I really enjoyed this audio book and thought Shannon McManus did a great job with the voices. Having to alternate between the two main characters, along with the other lesser characters is a challenging job, but Shannon made it seem effortless. She was able to give each and every character a distinct voice and was also able to infuse just the right amount of emotion into her voice as needed.


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