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Summit Lake

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

Summit Lake is suspenseful and entertaining and a perfect blend of characters, setting and story.



Becca Eckersley is a first-year law student at George Washington University and the daughter of a powerful attorney. She was brutally murdered at Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina while studying for her final exams. Since this is the first ever murder in this town, residents are concerned as well as reeling with grief. Additional police have been brought in, and all seem baffled. They have revealed very little of their investigation.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the Summit Lake 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 act 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 help lead her out of her own dark past.

“No suspects. No person of interest. Just a girl that was alive one day and dead the next.”


SUMMIT LAKE is a haunting story of both a murdered law school student, and the reporter assigned to cover her story. I loved the well-crafted alternating storylines detailing both Becca‘s life prior to her murder and Kelsey‘s investigation after Becca’s murder. The chapter headings made the parallel story very easy to follow and the writing was clear and enjoyable.

Reading about Becca‘s life prior to her murder we are introduced to her many college friends and relationship she forged, which opens the door to plenty of potential suspects. We also get to know Kelsey as she investigates Becca‘s murder and realize she is just back to work after some time off after her own traumatic event.

The big question is who killed Becca Eckersley. There are lots of twists and turns along the way of Kelsey’s investigation, many of which will have you gasping, some might even make you mad. I loved both Becca and Kelsey’s characters, but particularly loved Kelsey’s need and determination to find the key to unlock the mystery of Becca’s death. She wasn’t afraid to break some rules to get the job done. A strong woman and a courageous character!

SUMMIT LAKE was suspenseful and entertaining and a perfect blend of characters, setting and story. It’s a haunting tale that will stay with you long after the killer is found.

Author Charlie Donlea skillfully transports us to the beautiful scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the stilt houses on Summit Lake. This was Donlea’s debut novel in 2016. His subsequent novels include The Girl Who Was Taken, (2017) Don’t Believe It (2018) and Some Choose Darkness (2018). All are fabulous! I listen to Summit Lake on Audible and enjoyed the narration.

Publisher Kensington/Brilliance Audio

Published January 26, 2016

Narrated Shannon McManus

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