A Reader's Opinion: SUMMIT LAKE by Charlie Donlea

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

SUMMIT LAKE by Charlie Donlea


I clicked on the book because of the cover and bought it because of the summary. This book was also one of those rare cases (okay, only the second time it's happened) when I actually cared about the author endorsement on the cover. Catherine Coulter is a favorite author, especially in this genre, and she was spot on with Summit Lake.

The summary tells you all you need to know before reading the book. Both Becca and Kelsey are relatable characters worthy of the reader's attention. I may have figured out who did it early on, but what I liked was that I didn't know I had figured it out until the end. Don't worry, it will make sense.

Donlea delivers one heck of a debut with great pacing, plenty of twists and turns, and enough suspense to keep me coming back for more. If he delivers more of the same in his next book, then he's snagged a new fan. I highly recommend Summit Lake.

Content Note: This is one of those books where the author includes a sensitive subject matter (and scene) yet manages to do so without the graphic details that might leave the reader cringing. I applaud the author for his delivery of the subject matter. There wasn't enough swearing for me to remember, which was a nice surprise and much appreciated.


Star Rating: 5 Stars | Content Rating: See Above | Reviewed by: MK McClintock




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 . . .


Genre: Mystery/Suspense | Pub Date: January 26, 2016 | Page count: 320pp | Publisher: Kensington

Format Read: Hardcover | Source: From the reviewer's personal library.



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