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6 / 30 books. 20% done!

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Book Bingo Reading Challenge

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42 / 109 books. 39% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Ho-Hum Murder Mystery Just An Okay Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Summit Lake, North Carolina, is the kind of quaint little town that homicide never touches.  So, when a 22-year-old law student is brutally murdered there, it leaves everyone reeling with shock.  How could this have happened in their peaceful community?  Who would want to kill a promising young woman like Becca Echersley?  It simply makes no sense.

Kelsey Castle, a crime reporter in need of a vacation (even a working one), is sent to Summit Lake to dig around for answers.  Since the police don't appear to be doing much to solve the case, Kelsey becomes even more impassioned.  Feeling a strong connection to the murdered woman, the reporter vows to find Becca's killer.  Even if it puts her own life in danger.  

Summit Lake, a debut novel by Charlie Donlea, is your basic murder mystery.  There's nothing really fresh or original about it, but it was compelling enough to keep me reading.  It's not as suspenseful as I hoped it would be, especially because Becca narrates half the chapters.  The characters are pretty flat, the prose is capable but melodramatic, and a lot of the plot is far-fetched and contrived.  Still, I didn't see all the twists coming.  In the end, though, I found this to be just an okay read.  Although this is a first novel, I don't think I'll bother with another Donlea book.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of lots of other murder mysteries set in sleepy little towns, although no specific titles are coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. Your first paragraph makes this one sound as if it were constructed from a kind of paint-by-the-numbers kit. I think I've read this one a few dozen too many times already. Sounds like a mystery in bad need of a twist or two.

  2. I've only read The Girl Who Was Taken by Donlea. And I did like that one. But I haven't been too interested in reading his other books. Sounds like I'm not missing out.

  3. Sorry it was a bit of a dud for you. Trying a debut can be tricky sometimes.

  4. I guess at the end of the day, a mystery novel that compels you to keep reading is an effective mystery in itself.

  5. If books are only ho hum for me, I've started not finishing them so that I can move on the wow books. :-)


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Murder Off the Books by Tamara Berry


Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country in the World by Sarah Smarsh

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