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Publisher's Summary

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....

©2016 Charlie Donlea (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Lyrics to “She Don’t Like Roses” used by permission of Christine Kane.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very sad ending to a promising young life...

What was one of the most memorable moments of Summit Lake?

When Becca's murderer sits down with the letter she wrote to her unborn daughter. The one thing I regret about this book is that it brings up the letter quite a few times but never says what the letter says but I guess anyone who has or ever thought about having children can kind of fill in the blanks.

What does Shannon McManus bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought she did a very good job narrating. I have listened to her narration of other books and I think this may be her best performance.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Maybe not in one sitting but I did listen to it in one day.

Any additional comments?

I thought this was a very good book. I've looked at some of the other reviews that say it's a novel or unique idea but I really didn't see it that way. To me this book is the classic love triangle. The book makes the murdered girl kind of a flirt so the third party to the triangle although kind of predictable could possibly be another. There is a lot of secrecy surrounding this girl and the relationship she has with her baby's father. There are a few things that happened that made no sense to me whatsoever (i.e.: the victim left her diary/journal at a local cafe and instead of turning it over to the police the shop owner hid in in one of her cookbooks...HUH?). Anyway I did like the writing style, the book moves along at a pretty good pace. I liked the way the author go back and forth between past and present and did not find it at all confusing. With each new chapter he says the number of months or week or day before the murder. Or in the case of the investigative reporter he stated how long since the murder. He also gives the reporter a similar but not the same kind of story of her own which makes her look at this case a little more personal and I think with more empathy.
I purchased this book on sale for $4.95 and it is certainly worth that.
I would RECOMMEND this book especially if you read this review while it is still on sale.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good but not Great.

An entertaining listen. Just not as creative as I like my fictions. It's good... just not great.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Charlie Donlea Knows how to Write Mystery Novels

Where does Summit Lake rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Among the best. The story is original and interesting, and the temporal converging of past and present narratives unfolds in an unique, thoughtful manner that consistently engages the reader. The characters are interesting, well-bounded, three dimensional, and - with the exception of Becka's murderer - likable and genuine. The interpersonal dynamics are fantastic and developed excellently (both by the narrator and the author). The story is always interesting and the ending is so, so good,It is unexpected, but analytically supported and developed by the narrative.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Summit Lake?

The moment you find out who Becka's murderer is. Brilliant.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending when Kelsey finds the dwelling of the murderer and the death of Becka and the circumstances surrounding it jointly unfold to reveal the twisted mind of her killer.

Any additional comments?

If you enjoy thrillers and mysteries, you need to read this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The story line is transparent, geared toward twenty-year-old audience. The narration is awful, she actually sounds like she's READING, which is monotonous. I have had to turn it off while driving because it puts me to sleep. That, and the "valley girl" dialect that creeps into several of the character's voices.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Completely detracted from a story line that was so-so to begin with.

Was Summit Lake worth the listening time?

Not really.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is a good listen

This has enough twists and turns to make you always wonder "who" was the murderer. I look forward to her next book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

It's a mystery.....

The mystery is why this book has any positive reviews. It's poorly written, unrealistic, and the characters are not sympathetic. Don't bother.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Summit Lake

A must read! Questions strike your mind the first minute you're listening. Surprises along the way. And you assume things naturally and that will take you aback in this amazing story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Would be a good story if it didn't jump all over.

I was hopeful when the book started with PART 1. Within 5 minutes the story was jumping all over time and places. I made it through 6 chapters before I gave up on trying to keep track of the WHO WHAT and WHERE.

17 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Predictable

Spoiler it is predicable didn’t really care for the narrator either. I would go with something else other than spending 10 hours on this book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 09-04-18

The Author Has No Respect for The Readers

There is a difference between outsmarting the audience and tricking the audience. I devoured this mystery. I was fully invested early on. Took multiple trips around the block to hear more and thought about the book when I left the car. Ultimately, the author had no respect for the readers. The ending wasn't a got ya, it was a deliberate attempt to mislead. And I'm not sure why, I could rewrite the book with one character at the end of the whodunit with similar characteristics as the character was ultimately responsible and it would have been plauisble. The details at the end were sloppy thrown together. Some plots never were resolved. And the main characters ending made no sense based on what she experienced earlier in the book. None of the ending was plausible to me. Well written, yes, but not plausible. I left this book with a bad taste in my mouth. It was a great book but the ending almost destroyed everything