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Cemetery Lake

(Theodore Tate #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,101 ratings  ·  167 reviews
A chilling case of unsolved murders and mistaken identities unravels when a lake in a Christchurch cemetery releases its grip on the murky past in this exciting crime thriller from the internationally bestselling author of The Laughterhouse.

Cemetery Lake begins in a cold and rainy graveyard, where Private Detective Theodore Tate is overseeing an exhumationa routine job for
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Atria Books (first published 2008)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  1,101 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Mary Beth
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Linda Strong
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. Thats the situation which starts off Theodore Tates 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 in
Jon Recluse
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
Bodies floating to the surface of a lake in a graveyard.

Bodies laid to rest in coffins not their own.

For ex-cop turned P.I. Theo Tate, it's a case he must that began when his life was torn apart by tragedy, and pushed him over an edge no policeman should cross.

An edge he may be crossing again.

A masterfully written noirish thriller that delivers in spades, Cleave takes the story right to the razor's edge at points, but keeps things on track with a deft hand, and creating a uniquely
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
 Reading Reindeer
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 ...more
Jun 22, 2013 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 ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Patrice Hoffman
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sep 07, 2009 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 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
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, ...more
Amanda McGill
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Full review at - The Limit of Books Does Not Exist

I think I have a new favourite rouge ex-detective (sorry Bosch)! Enter Theo Tate who is still recovering from a horrible accident that turned his life upside down two years ago. He lost his job at the police department and now works as a private detective. Tate lives by his own rules and isnt going to listen to anyone, especially anyone in the police department.

I was a fan of Tate for the most part, but there were definitely some moves that he
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Pessolano
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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 run
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cemetery Lake was an enjoyable, fast read that built suspense nicely and kept me thoroughly engaged. It was the type of book that had me looking forward to the next time that I would pick it up and find out what happened next. Several of the characters were nicely developed and the plot was clever, winding and had a few interesting twists.

This is not a spoiler as you find out these things very early on. Theo Tate, the main character, is an ex-cop whose life has really gone off the rails. His
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
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?
Sulaf Farhat
Jul 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Way too convoluted and over dramatic! I didn't care for any of the characters. The lead, Tate, was especially annoying.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
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".
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I don't think I've read a book where the PI gets himself in so much trouble! This book is a wild page-turner down to the last page. Already have the next book in the series on order!
Kathleen Dixon
Interesting - if I'd never been to Christchurch I'd have thought it a dark and dreary place from reading this book. It's not, and possibly it's not even described as such in this excellent detective novel, but the whole tone is dark. That makes sense. Theodore Tate was a cop until 3 years ago (2? - I'm useless at details) but his daughter was killed and his wife's mind destroyed by a drunk driver. Tate couldn't stay in the force, eventually becoming a private detective and now very capable of ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this! The main character is one of those not-squeaky-clean guys who you want to root for, but at the same time, you intellectually know that he is not a nice guy. The middle sagged a little bit for me, but the beginning and end of the book were engaging, and I read through them quickly. It's not a perfect book, but I'm interested in reading the next volume.
I would have liked to give this one a 5, but I spent so much of the story getting angry with the character when he kept doing stupid things, knowing that they were going to land him in worse trouble. Yeah, I know it was all part of making the story work out the way it did, and I don't mind a little bit of that kind of thing in a story, but I think I spent about 50% of the time mentally yelling at Theodore to stop being such a prat!!!

Also (just a nitpicky thing), but it's a pity the audio version
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
4.5 stars !
Wow, just wow !!!
It was sooo good. A rollercoaster of emotions and revelations. The atmosphere, Theodore himself, the story, all of it was so well written and executed !
I really want to pick up the sequel right away. It's addictive, a page turner.
Craig Sisterson
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 Tates 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 Cleaves debut
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

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