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Summit Lake

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  5,767 ratings  ·  797 reviews
Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in North Carolina s Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney, was brutally murdered there. Now the town is reeling with grief, and the police are baffled.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Ca
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Kensington
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,767 ratings  ·  797 reviews

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Christina - Recipe & a Read
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
3 Nice Guys Finish Last: Tales From The Dreaded Friendzone stars!!

Fade in. Scene Set.

Kelsey Castle (excellent name BTW), a prominent true-crime author and journalist still in recovery from a rocky few months, is sent to the small, stilt-housed, cozy town of Summit Lake. She is sent here for her own well-being as well as to cover the murder of young, beautiful, full-of-potential, her-whole-life-ahead-of-her, Becca Eckersley.

This is told from 2 POVs - Kelsey's (which we're given information abou
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Traveling Friends Review by Norma and Brenda

It’s no secret that Brenda and I really enjoy Donlea’s novels and have highly recommended his books in the past on our blog and to our Traveling Sisters and Friends, especially the novel DON’T BELIEVE IT. After we finished up our monthly group read on our Traveling Friends group for DON’T BELIEVE IT we were all left with wanting more Donlea so we quickly dove into reading Donlea’s debut novel, SUMMIT LAKE. He is such a natural and talented author - he
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summit Lake beings with the brutal rape and murder of first year law student, Becca Eckersley. Becca was staying at her parent's home in Summit Lake while studying for her final exams. She diligently followed her parent’s rules of keeping the doors locked and the security system on, until that fateful night when someone she knew knocked on the door. She turned off the alarm and opened the door not knowing the danger she was letting inside the home. Now the town of Summit Lake is reeling. As the ...more
Chelsea Humphrey
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
EDIT- once again I couldn't stop thinking about this book, so I felt it only fair to bump this rating up to 4 stars!


Many thanks to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3.5 stars

Well, I was all over the place on this one. I figured I'd settle in the middle to be fair.

This story is a healthy blend of past and present, told through multiple POVs which I thoroughly enjoyed. We begin with the murder of Becca and travel back and forth
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This review is sooooooooo are many of the others that are going to follow in the next few weeks. Living out in the booonies- sometimes my internet doesn't work with me. Sorry NetGalley. :(

Blue Ridge, North Carolina-

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Becca Eckersley- a law school student from a prominent family escapes to her families vacation home on school break...but as soon as she arrives, her past catches up with her...In the place she felt safest- she is brutally murdered. It is obvious to the detectiv
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5* The novel centers around four university students who are the best of friends. One of the students, Becca Eckersley, decides to drive to her parent’s summer home to study alone for her final exam. With doors securely locked and the alarm system set, Becca runs to the door when she hears knocking expecting a friendly face, but unfortunately, opens it to a killer. Since Becca’s death is the only recorded homicide in the history of this small town, Summit Lake is now on the radar of reporters, ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Summit Lake is a solid murder mystery with a twist!

Bad things don’t happen in Summit Lake—no one has ever even been murdered, until the murder of 22 year old Becca Eckersley takes place.

Summit Lake opens with a detailed description of Becca's brutal murder. The town is in shock, gossip fuels the air and the state police don’t seem to want Becca’s murder solved. Enter crime writer Kelsey Castle, who is drawn to Becca’s story.

The story alternates between Becca and Kelsey’s POV’s, and the reader
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: Diane to read, NG
I wish to thank Net Galley, Kensington Books, and author Charlie Donlea for an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Wow, Charlie Donlea! Your writing career is off to a good start with one terrific read. Yes, this is indeed a clever debut mystery/suspense novel that engaged me the entire way. Reading a book by a brand new author is always a risk, but when it pays off, it is so satisfying. Not only is the ride great, but there is a new author on the must-read list to look out for.

SUMMIT LAKE by author Charlie Donlea, is a well-written debut psychological crime suspense mystery thriller that has winner written all over it.

The novel is set in a little town called Summit Lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in North Carolina, where urban workers take a break from the rat race and go and spend time at their weekend homes…a real tourist town. The town has a beautiful view of the mountains and Blue Lake.

“Somewhere in this quaint tourist town, a girl had been murdered. It seemed t
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars! Charlie Donlea is three for three!

I’ve now read all three of Charlie Donlea’s books and LOVED each and every one of them! This novel was Donlea’s debut and I’m thrilled to say he found his groove from the start!

This story revolves around the murder of first-year law student, Becca Eckersley, who comes from a prominent and powerful family. Investigative reporter, Kelsey Castle, is sent to the little town where Becca was murdered to explore, examine and report the details surrounding th
Susanne  Strong
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
4 Stellar Stars.

Captivating, Compelling & Wholly Intriguing!

Present Day: Kelsey Castle is an Investigative Reporter with a past she’d like to forget. Sent to “Summit Lake” to investigate the heinous murder of first year Law Student Becca Eckersley, Kelsey has her work cut out for her, especially when she discovers that the police don’t exactly appear to want the case solved.

The Past: Becca Eckersley is a Senior in College, who spends every waking hour with her three best friends. Thick as thiev
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
“No suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.”

Following an attack on herself while she was out running, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle is sent to a picturesque North Carolina town to do a piece on a murdered law student Becca Eckersley. Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Who could possibly have wanted her dead? And in such a brutal fashion?

As Kelsey walks in Becca's footsteps she feels a growing connection to the dead girl.

Diane S ☔
Oct 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Thought is apropos that I start the new year by finishing a book by a début author. Good start to what should be a promising series. Kelsey Castle, an investigative reporter attempting to overcome a horrible event in her own life, is sent to Summit lake to gather facts on the murder of a first year law student.

On the whole this was an interesting read, a good case, and some interesting characters. But there were a few things that just didn't gel for me in and some situations like the relationsh
Kelsey Castle, a renowned crime writer for a prominent magazine, is assigned to develop a story about the murder of Becca Eckersley, a law student from a prominent family, who was savagely killed two weeks prior in Summit Lake. Becca was alone at her family’s vacation home near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Kelsey first thought this was a light assignment given to her by her editor as she recovers from her own situation. However, as she probes for answers, Kelsey finds an even larger effort by law e ...more
Judy D Collins
Top 50 Books of 2016!

Debut? If this is a debut, can only imagine what is to come.

SUMMIT LAKE by talented new author, Charlie Donlea, is destined to be in line for "The Best Debut of 2016." "Charlie, I hope you have given up your day job, and busy writing your next installment of Kelsey Castle." Many more stories here, waiting to be uncovered, (hoping for a series); sure your fingers are tapping away.

Set in the Western North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains- a small upscale weekenders’
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Check out all of my reviews at:

(I reviewed this book last year. I am adding this previously posted review since I am currently reading Mr. Donlea’s second mystery novel The Girl Who Was Taken and had not yet started my website.)

SUMMIT LAKE by Charlie Donlea is a debut mystery that keeps you turning the pages.

The setting is a small town in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The story is told by two narrators; Kelsey Castle, a true crime journal
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book with my offering of an honest review. I wish to thank the author, Charlie Donlea, as well as Kensington Books.

Summit Lake is a small community in the mountains of North Carolina. Quiet and tranquil would be just about right in describing a town where early morning sunrises are the place to be. Nothing but the peaceful waters lapping at the shore......until a shocking murder sends turmoil and fear their way.

Becca Eckersley's story is
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio

Summit Lake is Charlie Donlea’s debut novel and it shows. He’s really developed as an author over the past few years.

Becca Eckersley was a first year law school student visiting her parents’ second home in the Blue Ridge Mountains when she’s brutally raped and left for dead. And she does die the next morning. Kelsey Castle is an investigative reporter who comes to the town of Summit Lake to find the answers to who killed her and why.

We not only see Kelsey’s progress, but are privy to Becca’s h
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
After reading so many rave reviews for Donlea’s most recent effort, I decided to go back to his first and I can say that this was a solid mystery if not a spellbinding one. The author pulls off a bit of sleight of hand in the telling which clears the way for the twist, but the few red herrings that were thrown in the mix were more like minnows. The murderer was who I suspected all along so it made for more duh, than ta dah. That said, it was a fast and entertaining read and I think this would ma ...more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, netgalley
3.75 stars

Don't let my rating throw you off from grabbing this intriguing, solid debut mystery!

While I do have some issues with the book, I don't think they are anything that ruin the plot or upset the balance of the twists and turns. In fact I'm hiding my issues as potential spoilers. Read the book, then come back and let me know if you agree or disagree with me. But by all means, read the book!

The Plot:
In chapter one you meet Becca. Beautiful, smart, well liked law student, just arriving at t
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3 1/2 stars. I've read a few other GR reviews describe Summit Lake as a good debut, and I completely agree. It's a fast paced engaging read that has a few flaws that can be excused given that this is a debut. The novel begins with the murder and rape of first year law student Becca -- for those who might be turned off by this description of the opening, note that the violence is not too graphic and this is really the only real violence in the book. The rest of the book alternates between two tim ...more
Diana • Book of Secrets
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent debut from Charlie Donlea! I can't believe this book slipped past my "new releases" radar until now. I flew through this story, was totally absorbed in it, loved it.

Kelsey Castle is a crime reporter who's sent on assignment to a North Carolina mountain town called Summit Lake. This usually idyllic place has had its first murder. The victim, Becca Eckersley, is a promising law student and daughter of a powerful attorney. Kelsey believes the police are going in the wrong direction, poss
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summit Lake is a charming little town, a pretty place that is hiding a terrible secret. Kelsey Castle is a journalist who is just returning from a period of leave. Her boss sends her to Summit Lake not just to investigate the murder of law student Becca Eckersley, but also to give Kelsey some time to sort out her own personal issues. Neither of them have any idea of what she will find but it will be more than they bargained for. Becca and her three friends Brad, Jack and Gail are all studying to ...more
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thrillers, net-galley
This will blow your socks off.

Setting the scene:

This is set in North Carolina, a beautiful place in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The author describes this so well that you can see it in your minds eye.
Then you see Summit Lake.

The opening of the story is quite horrific, blood curdling and so well written that you are gasping at the sentences.

Becca is brutally raped and killed in her parents summer home.

The decriptions the author uses makes your eyes widen as you read them.

There was the bit about h
Linda Strong
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lake Summit is a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Lake Summit is where a young woman is brutally assaulted and strangled in her home.

Lake Summit is where Kelsey Castle, a crime reporter, is sent to cover the story.

This is the first time ever that a murder has been committed in this tight-knit community. The local police have been replaced by the State Police. The State Police aren't talking to anyone. The town is buzzing with all kinds of theories.

When Kelsey starts asking questions, she f
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a read this was Charlie Donlea BRAVO for writing a compelling believable thriller that kept my attention from the very first page i think this author will go places & hope this book will be a series but who knows!!

Kelsey Castle was a writer & getting over her demons after time out her boss Penn Courtney sends her to Summit Lake to investigate the murder of Becca Eccersley has been found murdered her father is a lawyer & wants to be a judge & he wants the perp found.

She is a uni student stud
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea has been on my NetGalley shelf for some time now, and I had good intentions of getting to it much earlier, but requests piled up…My Goodreads and NetGalley friends will know what I mean. I am happy to say that I finally read it, and it was well worth the wait! I extend my sincere thanks to NetGalley, Charlie Donlea, and Kensington Publishing Corp. for allowing me to read this advanced copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

The cover, the description, and many excel
Thoroughly enjoyed this debut thriller!
With the picturesque setting of a Blue Ridge Mountain, North Carolina town, this suspense debut piqued my interest immediately.

Becca Eckersley, an attractive law school student from a prominent family is murdered in her family's vacation home on the shores of Summit Lake. She knew her murderer... she let him in the house willingly. This is the first murder for the small tourist community and the local police are deemed too inexperienced to handle the murder
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book from Charlie Donlea and I loved the writing from this author and I intend to read more books from him. I loved it so much, that I read this book in just one sitting.
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Charlie Donlea is the USA TODAY and #1 Internationally bestselling author of SUMMIT LAKE, THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN, DON'T BELIEVE IT, SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS, and THE SUICIDE HOUSE. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two young children.

He spends a part of each year fishing with his father in the far reaches of Canada, where the roads end and lakes are accessible only by floatplane. These majestic

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