Summit Lake

Kensington. 2016. 294p. ISBN 9781496700988. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781496700995. F
[DEBUT] Following a personal trauma, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle decides to return to work early but resents being sent away almost immediately to do a fluff piece in a tiny North Carolina town. However, the savage murder of Becca Eckersley, a young female law student whose father is positioning himself for a judgeship, is not fluff, especially when it seems like a cover-up is in play. It's difficult to write a credible piece without any background information or facts, so Kelsey enlists the help of some locals and races to learn more about Becca and who would want to kill her. During the course of her reporting, Kelsey is forced to face her own recent trauma and fights to free herself from its hold on her life.
VERDICT Debut author Donlea effectively uses alternating chapters to tell Kelsey's and Becca's stories while introducing enough potential perps to keep readers guessing throughout. The whodunit plot is so clever and compelling that readers will forgive the spots of unnecessary dialog and the frequent overwrought descriptions of the sun, sky, and other location elements. For fans of nonstop mysteries with a twist.
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