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Echo Lake

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Thirty-something Emily Collins inherits her recently murdered aunt's house, deciding to move to Heartshorne, Oklahoma, to claim it and confront her family's dark past after her dead mother begins speaking to her in dreams, propelling this gothic, neo-noir thriller toward terrifying revelations of murderous small-town justice when a horrible community secret is revealed thr ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by Dark House Press (first published June 30th 2014)
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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  149 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Richard Derus
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Thirty-something Emily Collins inherits her recently murdered aunt's house, deciding to move to Heartshorne, Oklahoma, to claim it and confront her family's dark past after her dead mother begins speaking to her in dreams, propelling this gothic, neo-noir thriller toward terrifying revelations of murderous small-town justice when a horrible community secret is revealed through the supernatural pull of Echo Lake.

My Review: is an imprint of the newish press
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5, rounded up to 4*

ECHO LAKE, by Letitia Trent is a very atmospheric, and at times, quite poetic, story. Emily Collins is a woman who was living life in an almost "vacant" sense. ". . . she was there, but she wasn't quite there". Trent jumps right into the story, with a great-aunt (whom Emily never knew existed), and a cheating boyfriend that prompts Emily to move forward without further--if any--thought.

Enter the town of Heartshorne.

"When something happens to one of their own in Heartshorne,
Paula Cappa
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Deliciously Soft Suspense. I so appreciate and admire quiet horror, literary horror, a story that haunts, that is atmospheric and has a dark lurking presence. Echo Lake is a story that has these qualities. This dark fiction is a slow coming-of-age novel set within the framework of supernatural mystery. Author Letitia Trent’s poetic talents shine through in her lovely prose, as many readers will admire her pages of descriptions, metaphors, and highly detailed imagery that she so expertly crafts. ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Echo Lake may be a great American novel. In all but a few places, the writing is evocative and richly descriptive. Not only are the characters richly drawn, but the landscape as well. The titular body of water breathes, lives, almost as if it has a will of its own.
I don't want to recount or divulge the plotline, but there is a section where Emily is discovering what is known about an incident that involved her then-teenaged mother. Emily has learned of this event only after her mother has died a
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
A Weird Place novel about the titular lake, an engineered body of water which drowned an earlier iteration of Heartshorne, Oklahoma and has continued to have a bad reputation ever since. I was expecting a Charles L. Grant-esque work of quiet horror, but this was more of a Southern-gothic-by-way-of-the-Midwest focusing on family trauma and small-town secrets, with splashes of regular old horror intruding to allow Trent to meditate on the differences between random and “redemptive” violence.

Our pr
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

Emily Collins has been spending the last 5 years or so working to support herself and her musician husband, while he plays gigs and crashes at friends’ houses. When Emily discovers that he’s been cheating on her (probably for a while), instead of breaking down, she throws him out, and discovers newfound freedom. Perhaps it’s fate, then, when she gets a letter notifying her that her Aunt Frannie has died, and left her Heartshorne, Oklahoma house to Emily. I
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
This one starts slow, continues to be slow, and ends mostly without there being any resolution. Can't see it being worth a series, so not sure the ending is so ambiguous. Although there are readers who like books to end with a "what the heck is happening" or questions yet to be answered, I am not one of them. Not necessarily demanding a happy ending, but an ending would be nice.

The story is about a young woman who inherits from an aunt she has never heard existed a house in a small Oklahoma tow
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
This author obviously has a lot of talent and it's easy to see her poetry background come through in the often beautiful and haunting passages throughout this book. Because the writing is so strong, the narrative, especially the ending, fell apart for me. A lot of that had to do with the lead character, who was disappointing. Although she did solve the mystery, she did not grow past who she came into the novel being, and for me, that is a failure. I will be on the lookout for this author though, ...more
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new
I received this book as a first reads copy. Emily goes to Echo Lake to take over her aunts old home. She looks to solve the mystery of her aunts death as well as the other odd happenings in the small rural community. I enjoyed reading as she found out details along the way and learned about the supernatural nature of the lake.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit
It was definitely suspenseful and interesting. I couldn't put it down, but I expected more of a drastic thrill, it wasn't very complex. The ending seemed a bit complacent, though it's more of a journey about a woman finding herself than true horror story. However, it is well written and I'd certainly read something by Letitia Trent again.
Helen McClory
I can't resist any narrative that has a lake over a flooded town. This gothic story feels well balanced between the twin narratives of mother and daughter, separated as they are by years and all the secrets in those years.
Susan Mackie Powers
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had a chance to read "Echo Lake" as a First Reader, and I will definitely be looking for more of Letitia Trent's work. I learned from her biography that her foundation as a writer was in poetry, and that was a definite asset to her in writing "Echo Lake". I found myself immediately caught up in Ms. Trent's writing style; I loved her vivid descriptions of her characters, which really made them come alive for me. The main character, Emily Collins, has been working for the past five years to supp ...more
Dino Parenti
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
(Original review appears in Pantheon Magazine at

Letitia Trent’s, Echo Lake, the flagship novel release from Dark House Press (who gave us the neo-noir anthology, The New Black, in May), is an atmospheric, moody traipse through the hard soil of memory and dark pasts that would just as soon remain buried, unmolested by prying eyes and modernity’s judgment. Part rural noir, part haunted mystery, it mainlines smoothly into the bloodstream and works its magic
W. P. Johnson
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Liked it, didn't LOVE it. I'd say it's more of a 3 1/2 star book, but not quite 4 as far as my tastes are concerned.

Pros: the prose is good and the overall mood of the novel is very consistent. There's this dread that never really leaves you as you read about this small town of Heartshorne with it's random acts of violence and Echo Lake itself, which seems to be where all of the horror is coming from. As a fan of more traditional literature, this is exactly the kind of novel I would expect Dark
Chris Wells
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Echo Lake is a compelling novel and a stunning achievement. I have been a fan of Trent's work for the last nine years (mostly her poetry), and it is not too surprising to me that her first published novel is as poetic and tightly-constructed as it is.

Th characterization is especially brilliant. One of the most amazing things is the ease with which the author portrays violent states of mind, and how ordinary such states feel to those experiencing them. One character could be basically "normal" in
Ashley Wells
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: Letitia is a friend of mine and I'm already a huge fan of her poetry and of the horror movie podcast she cohosts, so there was no way I WASN'T going to like Echo Lake. But I still feel comfortable saying this is a fantastically entertaining first novel, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who's into horror, suspense, noir, or just good literature. The main character, Emily, inherits her murdered great-aunt's house in rural Oklahoma, and after she uproots her life a ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, gothic
Letitia Trent and I met a decade or so ago and bonded over weird, rural Oklahoma stuff, so when I found out she had written a book with this setting and it was in the genre of my heart (gothic) I snapped it up. I grew up between two haunted lakes (Oklahoma is full of them,) one covering a town and the other settled land, and they filled our rural farm with spooky, weird smelling fog. A pastor killed his wife and then drove his car into one of them a few years back. This novel was consequently ve ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Echo Lake is an original, chilling and great read filled with darkness and mystery.  Emily moves to the town her family was from to live in the home of her Aunt.  But knowing nothing about the town or her family because her Mother kept it all a secret.  She discovers her Aunt was murdered and more family secrets along the way.  Letitia Trent does an excellent job writing the feel and flavor of an outsider trying to fit into a small country town.
The town and scenery in the woods are painted so we
Jacqueline (Fall In Love With The Sound of Words)
I received an ARC of Eco Lake by Letitia Trent through Goodreads giveaways. This book was both spooky and intriguing. A family with a dark secret untold for 40 years, a town that wholeheartedly believes in 'an eye for an eye', a series of gruesome murders that may or may not be caused by the uber creepy Echo Lake and its mysterious green fog.

I could not put this book down! Throughout the whole thing I was desperately intrigued and needed to know the whole secret that the Collins family desperate
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This wasnt the horror novel i exspected. It was a great detailed story on a woman coming to terms with issues in her life. As she returns ti her familys town she uncovers the reason her mother left and never returned. The story develops around missing people that involves the sinester lake and its mysterious poison fog....the author did a tremendous job developing the characters and their thoughts..its truly a fine read and i would recomend it to another that likes dark woven tales of mystery. I ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Letitia Trent's thriller is fast-paced and deftly constructed. Emily Collins inherits her great aunt's house and moves to her mother's hometown which she has never visited before, uncovering the town's dark secrets. What I admired most was the way that Trent switches back and forth between present time, flashback, and dream-state. Just an astonishingly well-written book.

The only drawback is that the print edition of the book has many errors. I hope that it goes to a second printing with correcti
Melanie Wilson
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
A compelling page turner that felt a bit detached from its characters a lot of the time. Trent does a great job of creating atmosphere but a lot of this book I felt I've come across in other stories over the years. I received a free copy, and while it doesn't appear to be a proof or ARC, there are a ton of errors in it, which became very distracting.
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed this book.... it all felt so real, so truthful. I loved that Emily was who she was, flawed and unsure, taking things on as she came to them. The setting was haunting and incredibly memorable. Poetic sentences stuck with me, leaving me often feeling as if they were thoughts I had often come across but had never found the words to articulate.
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received an ARC copy of this book by Sarah in exchange for an honest review, thank you!
This book is original with mystery, suspense and creepiness. I've never read anything like it before. To me it has a Agatha Christie vibe to it. I loved it!
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is some delicious darkness in this one and so much under the surface pulling you down as you read. The prose is menacingly rich, and you constantly feel that huge shape you can't see lurking somewhere in the water beneath you. I didn't want to stop reading, even when it was over.
Damian Serbu
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a chilling read. I thriller that delves deeply into family, community, and fear. Well written and with a good pace. I liked the main character a lot. The ending was a bit abrupt for me, but the story of this lake and its hauntings will teach you something about yourself!
Victor Giron
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Curbside Splendor
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The summer-reading-by-a-lake book of 2014.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
What a great, haunting story. I loved it. Maybe I will elaborate once I've had some time to process my thoughts.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very interesting plot, it just wasn't delivered well enough. My copy had a lot of spelling errors, which took me out of the story as soon as I noticed them. (It wasn't an ARC.) The dialogue is also written a funky way without quotation marks and I found that to work well in favor of the eerie tone of the story. However, I skimmed the last 50-pages or so because I felt unsatisfied with the plot and just wanted to be onto the next.
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Letitia Trent's books include the novels Almost Dark and Echo Lake, the poetry collection One Perfect Bird, and the chapbooks The Women in Charge and You aren't in this movie. Her work has appeared in 32 poems, Fence, Black Warrior Review, Diode, Smokelong Quarterly, and Sou'Wester, among others. Trent's short story, Wilderness, was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award and included in Best Horror ...more
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