Kensington | March 2017 (Reprint) | 320pgs
Source: Library

Charlie Donlea's debut novel was a joy to read as it has all the elements of a good psychological suspense. Filled with intrigue and a sense of urgency in terms of pacing and the unravelling of truth surrounding the murder of a female law student, Summit Lake had me on edge throughout my reading journey and I was glad to find a new author and whose books which I'm going to add to my wishlist in future. 

Alternating between the past and the present, this is a story about the life of four law students and the chronicle of a journalist's journey into breaking a mystery and seeking justice and finding peace alongside her search of unravelling the truth of Becca Eckersley's death. At first glance, Becca's death is pointed to a house robbery case gone bad after the police couldn't find any concrete evidence that indicated it was a homicide. While the local police commander is skeptical about the conclusion, there is nothing much he could do about it especially the case is being handed over to the state detective's bureau. The case remains that way until Penn Courtney, the editor of Events magazine sent their journalist, Kelsey Castle, towards Summit Lake to dig into Becca's case and write an article on it. While Penn's initial purpose is to get Kelsey back onto her feet after an assault incident has rendered her emotionally traumatised, what they didn't expect is there is indeed something more about Becca's case and Kelsey is adamant to find out everything as not only she wants justice for Becca but also she might overcome her dark past and find peace again considering she came out of an assault incident alive, unlike Becca. 

Summit Lake was an absorbing read. I was engaged in the picturesque town of Summit Lake and Becca's busy college life as well as her tight-knit friendship with fellow students - Brad, Jack and Gail. Becca is a social butterfly and is well liked by her peers. Guys find her attractive but Becca is often clueless at how her friendliness and her warmth might spark some misunderstanding among those who harbours deep affection in her.

I loved it that the story was perfectly crafted as the chapters alternate between what had happened and Kelsey's current findings and how eventually these two intersected towards the end to reveal that final picture. The characters are well developed too as the story progresses, giving readers the gist of each character's personality and how an event has changed each of their lives and led to no return. I'd have given this a 5-star rating but I wasn't convinced by one particular scenario thus a 4.5 star (Spoiler Alert - highlight to show: Becca was heavily pregnant at a stage and yet no one even noticed.) That said, it was still a suspenseful read and I'll be sure to check out the author's latest release, The Girl Who Was Taken

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12 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    That's funny that we both posted about one of Donlea's books on the same day. Too bad we didn't read the same one; we could've compared notes. :)

  2. Melody Says:

    Lark - It was a nice coincidence and it's even nicer if we could compare notes. Perhaps we can do a readalong next time. :D

  3. jenclair Says:

    :) I abandoned Summit Lake, but really liked The Girl Who Was Taken. You should be getting a letter soon, and I got your latest postcard the other day!

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - There're some mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads so I can easily see why. I think some scenarios seem far-fetched but the plot kept me engaged despite my minor "complaints". :)

    And I received your letter the other day, too!

  5. This sounds interesting, Melody. I like books that alternate between past and present. I am glad you enjoyed this one! I will have to keep my eye out for it.

  6. Lark Says:

    I think a readalong would be fun. Got any books in mind?

  7. Melody Says:

    Wendy - It was an intriguing read, Wendy. I love books that alternate between the past and present, too. I hope you'll enjoy this as well.

  8. Melody Says:

    Lark - Yes, it'd be fun! Hmm... I do have several books in mind and I think it'd be better (and makes our communications easily) if we email each other.

    I suggest the following books:
    - A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell
    - The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
    - One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
    - The Girl Before by JP Delaney

    Or do you have other books in mind?

  9. The Bookworm Says:

    This one sounds really good, even if the one scenario you mentioned seemed a little hard to believe.
    Great review!

  10. Iliana Says:

    It was hard not to click on the spoiler! :) Great review Melody. I love a good psychological thriller and this one needs to go on my list.

  11. Melody Says:

    Naida - I quite enjoyed this book. If only that little scenario was done otherwise. Sigh.

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Thanks, Iliana! I hope you'll enjoy reading this one. :)

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