Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

This past Sunday was the Around the Bay 30 km Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario. Kevin and I are both big runners (him more so than I) and he took on his 3rd Around the Bay. Around the Bay was founded in 1894 which makes it the oldest road race in North America, even older than the Boston marathon! In 2006, the finish line moved into the FirstOntario Centre (the home of the Hamilton Bulldogs). It’s a perfect race for spectators because you get to wait inside and I got to spend some time reading Summit Lake.

Summit Lake

The finish line of the 124th Around the Bay Road Race

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney, was brutally murdered there. Now the town is reeling with grief, and 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 efforts to keep it quiet, hint at something far more sinister than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper, 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 her secrets the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past.

I got hooked very quickly. The writing is simple and easy to follow along. The book opens with Becca’s death and you know that she is hiding a secret. It then follows Becca starting at 1.5 years before her death. The book alternates chapters between Becca’s past and reporter, Kelsey Castle. Kelsey feels connected to the case and feels that Becca’s secret is the key to finding her murderer.

There are some problems that I had with the novel. First, Kelsey walks into the town of Summit Lake and gets all of the documentation regarding the case. I have no idea why the police chief and one of the local doctors would give away documents to a reporter that relates to a open active case.

Second problem was the killer. No spoilers here, but I wasn’t impressed with who the killer ended up being. There was a clever twist that I didn’t guess at all, but I didn’t feel that I was satisfied by the ending.

I did enjoy Becca’s story more than Kelsey’s. I kept wanting the author to stay with Becca’s history instead of having to keep switching back to Kelsey’s. Becca’s story took place during her time at college and law school and I enjoyed all the drama that she got into!

3 calculators out of a potential 5. It was so easy to get hooked and I just wanted to keep reading and find out what happened to Becca. I didn’t enjoy who the killer was and how easy it was for Kelsey to solve the murder.

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