Thursday, December 8, 2022

Audiobook Review: Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

Summit Lake

Charlie Donlea
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Publication: Brilliance Audio (January 26, 2016)
Length: 8 hours and 12 minutes

Description: “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: This engaging thriller was an enjoyable listen/read. It alternates the story of murdered first-year law student Becca Eckersley with that of journalist Kelsey Castle.

Kelsey has been sent to Summit Lake by her editor more for a vacation and time get over her rape than to find out who murdered Becca. She arrives to find the case taken out of the local police's hands and given to State investigators. She also finds that things that should be public, like the autopsy, are being carefully kept from the public. Her curiosity is aroused and aroused even more when she learns that Becca too was raped before being murdered. 

The story begins from Becca's point-of-view on the night of her death. Then the chapters alternate between Kelsey and Becca with Becca's having ominous titles like "Fourteen months before her death." As we hear Becca's story, we meet a young college student and her three best friends. Gail, Brad and Jack and see that changing relationships among them. 

Becca comes across as a nice young woman who somehow lacks awareness of her effect on some of the men around her. She's still being harassed by her high school boyfriend who doesn't want to believe their relationship is over. She has a sort-of inappropriate friendship with one of her professors. Brad is falling in love with her whereas she sees him only as a friend. She actually falls in love with Jack, but they keep their relationship quiet so as not to disturb the dynamics of the group.

Kelsey and her new friend, coffee shop manager Rae, along with the covert assistance of the Chief of Police and Dr. Peter Ambrose, try to discover what happened to Becca despite the fact that someone - likely Becca's powerful father - is trying to cover things up. 

I really enjoyed this story which I partially read and partially listened to. The narrator did a good job building the suspense. 

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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