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Cemetery Lake (Theodore Tate #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  693 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
A fast-paced crime thriller from the author of international bestsellers The Cleaner and The Killing Hour, Cemetery Lake will keep you guessing until the last page.What began as a routine exhumation of a suspected murder victim quickly turns complicated for private investigator Theodore Tate . . .Theo Tate is barely coping with life since his world was turned upside down t ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 2nd 2008 by Black Swan (first published 2008)
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Mary Beth
Nov 27, 2015 Mary Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved this book. This was my first Paul Cleave book and its the first book in the Theodore Tate series! I think Theodore Tate is going to be one of my favorite series. There are lots of twists and turns. I could not stop listening to this audiobook! The narration is done very well. Not once did the narrator get on my nerves, which means a lot to me.
The suspense keeps going throughout the whole book. Not once did I have a boring moment. This is a fantastic mystery and thriller.
Theodore Tat
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
4 1/2 stars and I just can't get enough of Paul Cleave's writing!

I have never before read one book after another by the same author, but that is what I am now doing.

Paul Cleave is the master of the sucker-punch. You are reading along, all nice and comfy, having the odd laugh (he really is a humorous writer - despite the subject matter!), thinking this is a good read, then out of no-where you are suddenly at OMG! You think I would be accustomed to it, expecting it even, But no, he gets me every t
Jul 14, 2015 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul Cleave has developed a great character in Theodore Tate. His wife and daughter were walking on a sidewalk when they were struck by a chronic drunk driver who left the scene. His wife is in a nursing home, she doesn't speak or respond in any way, and she just stares out the window. Theo brings her flowers every day. His daughter was killed and he visits the cemetery every day. Theo did what all of us would want to do if we were in that situation, and though he is now a private investigator, ...more
Linda Strong
Jun 30, 2015 Linda Strong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015

Theo Tate is a sad man. Once a police officer, he resigned when his young daughter was killed and his wife became permanently catatonic after a drunk driver hit them. Now a Private Investigator, he does just enough business to keep a roof over his head.

When one of his clients thinks her father was murdered, Theo pushes for an exhumation. What they find there pushes everything in a different direction .. one that leads to a serial killer.

This is the first book I've read by Paul Cleave .. it won't
My original Cemetery Lake audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.
In a lake on a cemetery, bodies are rising to the surface, while during an exhumation the body of a girl is recovered from a coffin which was meant to hold a male corpse. That’s the situation which starts off Theodore Tate’s search for a fanatic serial killer.
Tate is your typical anti-hero: an ex-cop turned private investigator after an accident in which his young daughter died and which left his wife
May 16, 2013 Juli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a First Reads winner on Goodreads. Wow! This brilliant, dark, disturbing thriller that Paul Cleave has written! I HAVE to read his other books! I could not put this one down---I would tell myself that I would read a chapter and then stop, but when I got to the end of the chapter, I would read "just one more"...The main character, Theodore Tate, is not a man who behaves in ways that I would agree with, but that made the story more unpredictable and fun to read. Cemetery La ...more
The Haunted Reading Room 2017 - Year of Lovecraft
This mystery totally engrossed me. I had just read it's successor, FIVE MINUTES ALONE, and very much enjoyed it. FIVE MINUTES ALONE, I found to be more of a character study, an examination of the ways in which different individuals ( and society) react to events and principles. Exactly where will a "moral" person draw her or his line? Make no.mistake: there was plenty of action (especially the events at and subsequent to.the abandoned institution) but I found CEMETERY LAKE to be much more action ...more
Patrice Hoffman
Cemetery Lake is the second book I've read by Paul Cleave and it's the first in a series featuring the anti-hero Theo Tate. While overseeing an exhumation, questions are raised about the identity of the person's body they find in the coffin. Before long, bodies begin to surface in the nearby lake that is neighboring this cemetary. The corpse found suggests that Tate is to blame because of his failure in the past two years earlier when his whole world fell apart. Tate convinces his self that if h ...more
Sep 07, 2009 Lena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit disappointed by this. It's not so much about the murders, it's about this broken character called Theodore Tate. Ex-cop, now private investigator. His daughter died, his wife lives in her own little world. He turns to alcohol, makes stupid decisions and I didn't find him very likeable. Yes, I get some of it, like the pain about his family but I caught myself thinking "DON'T DO IT, IDIOT!" lots of times.
Apr 18, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-books
One of the things I love about winning books through the giveaways at is the ability to find authors that I may never have known about otherwise. I'll be honest. I wasn't familiar with any of Paul Cleave's work but that will definitely change. Cemetery Lake is one of those books that pulls the rug out from under you time and time again. As you read and feel you have things figured out, there goes the rug and everything you thought you knew with it.

The main goal of any author is to
I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review... which follows!

RECAP: Former cop (turned Private Investigator) Theo Tate, struggling to overcome his rough past few years, has just been handed the biggest can of worms he'll ever experience, and he's about to open that can. He's having the body of a man exhumed to check and see if he didn't actually die of natural causes, but instead of poisoning (in light of new evidence in a related case that begs the question). Here's th
Paul Pessolano
”Cemetery Lake” by Paul Cleave, published by Atria.

Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date - June 18, 2013

Paul Cleave has written six books and they are now being reprinted in paperback by Atria. His novels all take place in Christchurch, New Zealand and just from his novels I have no desire to live there.

“Cemetery Lake” is the first novel with ousted Detective and now P.I., Theo Tate. Theo is fighting his own personal problems, the murder of his child and his unresponding wife; both were r
Jun 22, 2013 Gatorman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another terrific thriller from Cleave featuring Theo Tate. This one involves floating bodies in a lake, corpse switching and 4 dead girls which Tate feels responsible for because of a lack of action on his part two years ago. The story is well-written, never boring and gives real substance to the lead via backstory, something not always seen in books like this. A bit over-the-top at times but you come to expect this from Cleave and the story never suffers for it. Cleave should be more popular he ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I did not like this book at all. I almost gave up on it early on because I was kind of bored. The narration is all 1st person stream-of-consciousness-like and very plodding. I suppose the purpose is to set up the state of mind of the narrator. Anyway, I struggled on and then things went from boring to bad, then bad to worse. I started skimming because the total melt-down of the main character was just too depressing. I can see there being a lively book club discussion on the topics of revenge, k ...more
Cleave sure likes to end his books abruptly.

I didn't enjoy this one as much i did Blood Men, but it was still quite the roller coaster ride.

I love the character of Theo Tate, even though he is an anti-hero if ever there was one. That's one of the main things I enjoy about Cleave's novels...the fact that all of his characters are pretty damn twisted and no one is ever really innocent or truly heroic in a traditional sense.
Tom Chignell
Quite an engaging story but, please, if you are writing about Christchurch, NZ, don't pretend you are in the USA! And the theme of an (ex-) policeman with alcohol problems is a little overdone, don't you think?
Mar 10, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Unrelentingly grim and depressing, this isn't your normal serial killer story. It's as much a story of how one of the good guys can turn into a bad guy in pursuit of the "truth".
Feb 01, 2017 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Murder Mystery, Detective Story readers
Recommended to Nancy by: Goodread reviewer
Extremely hard review for me to write. The story line is unique and interesting. Written in a conversational style I found myself thinking (as I would in conversation with someone that prattled on and on to the point of impatience), "Get to the point, will you?" Skimmed many pages and didn't miss anything important. By the end of the book I wondered at the great number of people the main character actually killed. The first in cold-blood and the next two in person, sort-of by accident. But the f ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, new-zealand
CEMETERY LAKE is the third book by Paul Cleave, THE CLEANER and THE KILLING HOUR being the first two. None of these books are connected, so you can pick them up in any order, although, being lucky enough to read them in order, you can see a certain style developing in the writing.

CEMETERY LAKE tells the story of Theodore Tate. One time police officer, his life has gone seriously off the rails. His young daughter was killed and his wife severely injured by a drunk driver. Bridget - his wife - is
Craig Sisterson
Apr 06, 2010 Craig Sisterson rated it really liked it
Blue fingernails. Cleave begins his third novel with two simple, evocative words. Two words that bring Theo Tate to an exhumation; two words that send the world-weary private investigator on an unpredictable journey intersecting a present-day serial killer with well-kept suburbanite secrets, and Tate’s own troubled past.

Tate is only present at the exhumation because his former police colleagues are too busy trying to catch the Christchurch Carver, the grisly serial killer from Cleave’s debut nov
3.5 stars.

Author,Paul Cleave, has created an unusual hero - or I should say anti hero - in Private Investigator, Theodore Tate. At the beginning of this fast-paced thriller, Tate has experienced personal tragedy. His daughter has died, following a motor accident, which also left his wife severely brain damaged. No longer in the police force, he uses some of his erstwhile colleagues to help in his work - not always a happy collaboration.

At the start of the novel, Tate is to be found at the exhuma
The CurvyJones
The number of people that end up dead around Theodore Tate is astounding.

Paul Cleave has quickly risen to the top of my fave authors list. I have a quirky, eclectic taste in books, so that list isn't very long. I've read these books all out of order but that doesn't even matter to me-- that I get to read a deeply engrossing story is what matters to me.

Cleave makes me feel like I've left my comfortable couch here in Georgia and have traveled to ChristChurch, NZ (which seems as if it's coming ap
Rick Laliberte
Jul 09, 2013 Rick Laliberte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cemetery Lake is a fascinating story…just not the one I expected.

When I read the publisher’s blurb about bodies in a cemetery lake and corpses in coffins that didn’t belong there I thought this would make a great story and it does. But it turns out that there’s another story here as well. Don’t get me wrong, the mystery story here is quite good but this is also a very dark novel about the depths of the human soul.

While the mystery itself takes some improbable turns it will hold your interest t
Enrico Tassinari
The rating is really a 4.5 stars as the ending sounded a bit abrupt but I gave 5 stars anyway because I really enjoyed the story and the character, flawed, broken, stubborn and smart. He reminded me a bit of one of my most beloved crime characters, Harry Hole by Joe Nesbo. The story is a good mix of procedural, mystery and thriller and keeps a god pace all along the story. I havent been able to get a hold of the town in which the story takes place, besides it's rainy, foggy and full of crime and ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Theodore Tate is described as flawed character going from police detective to private detective when his daughter is killed and his wife left brain-damaged in a hit and run. He spends this book making a career of bad choices that land him in deeper and hotter water than he was in before. The Christchurch, NZ that the author portrays is one no tourist in their right mind would book a trip to and the Keystone cops would be more efficient then Tate's former colleagues at enforcing the law. There is ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having never read any of Paul Cleaves books before, I had no expectations. I couldn't put it down. The story starts with an exhumation and just builds and builds and builds to a very unexpected ending (no spoilers here). I found the main protagonist to be annoying at times, as he just never let things be and made some interesting (for want of a better word) choices, but that's the character. You will love and hate him. Looking forward to reading some more of this authors books.
Jan 02, 2017 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure how this novel would play out, but I have to say that it was damn incredible. A New Zealand crime novel set in Christchurch but fascinatingly it was Kiwi neutral. There wasn't anything in it that made it distinctly Kiwi, which in a way made it more accessible.
As for the plot itself, I don't want to ruin anything, but it was incredibly good and fast paced. Essentially unputdownable.
Mar 06, 2015 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first of a series set in Christchurch, featuring a PI who was a police detective until his life fell apart because of a drunk driver.

It's not bad, but not my cup of tea. I didn't like his vigilante activities, or the endless lies and trouble he gave the actual police. I doubt I will read any more of the series.
Apr 18, 2013 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story--this is my favorite Paul Cleave story (I’ve read most of them). All of the moving parts do not come together until the last few chapters. A great mystery that keeps you guessing right up to the end!! An interesting twist on Catholic priests--really makes you think about what goes on in the confessional and parsonage. 8 of 10 for me on this one.
Mar 03, 2012 Linda rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
This is a fast paced mystery set in New Zealand. The main character is an ex-cop who is now a private investigator. While visiting his dead daughter's grave, he uncovers a mystery surrounding her and other graves which have been disturbed. I wasn't as enthusiastic about this book, just okay.
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Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival's crime novel of the y ...more
More about Paul Cleave...

Other Books in the Series

Theodore Tate (4 books)
  • Collecting Cooper (Theodore Tate, #2)
  • The Laughterhouse (Theodore Tate, #3)
  • Five Minutes Alone (Theodore Tate, #4)

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