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Blackwater Lake

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,395 ratings  ·  291 reviews
Matthew Stanyer fears the worst when he reports his parents missing. His father, Joseph Stanyer, has been struggling to cope with his wife Evie, whose dementia is rapidly worsening. When their bodies are found close to Blackwater Lake, a local beauty spot, the inquest rules the deaths as a murder-suicide. A conclusion that's supported by the note Joseph leaves for his son. ...more
Kindle Edition, 93 pages
Published September 28th 2015 by Orelia Publishing
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,395 ratings  ·  291 reviews

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Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christine by: Sue (Mariana 5)
Shelves: british, novella
What a nice surprise this read was! This little novella is jam-packed with a fabulous story that left me thinking I had just read a whole novel.

Though I really liked Ms. James’ Sister Psychopath, I was even more impressed with this novella. The basic premise involves a very realistic protagonist (Matt Stanyer) who loses his parents and subsequently makes some startling discoveries about them as he cleans out their house. At the same time, Matt is struggling with his conflicted feelings for his
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This little novella had more dance steps within it than a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Marathon.

Anxious and a bit distraught, Matthew Stanyer has notified the police when he is unable to locate his parents. Joe and Evie live a reclusive life near Blackwater Lake where his father, Joe, has been a caretaker and maintenance man. His mother, Evie, suffers from early onset dementia.

And then there's a note.....

Matthew finds a note laying on his father's pillow asking for forgiveness. To Matthew's
Kylie D
An ok mystery. Quick to read and enjoyable.
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Maggie James' writing is like a fine wine, it just gets better and better over time. Blackwater Lake is her latest offering and was a fantastic read. I was immersed in this novella from the very beginning and loved the aspects of the human psyche that it explored.

Maggie is known for tackling different subject matter in each of her books, her last book The Second Captive tackled a complex case of Stockholm Syndrome. In Blackwater Lake, Maggie tackles...


That is not all that Maggie brings
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Fast-paced novella that will make you think long and hard about things you might have in your house that you don't want discovered after you are gone.
Book of Secrets°ღ
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was very impressed with this novella. Though short in length, the book's characters and plot were well developed. Great mystery/suspense, and a freebie from B&N too. Would love to read more from Maggie James.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hoarding. The word conjures up graphic images of homes stuffed to the gills with newspapers, dirty dishes, and trash. Matthew Stanyer is the son of a hoarder, and when his parents go missing, his heart is in his throat. His mother has early-onset Alzheimer’s, and his father, a groundskeeper at Blackwater Lake, has left a note.

In her novella Blackwater Lake, author Maggie James shows us through Matt’s eyes what Evie and Joe Stanyer’s home looks like. With his parents gone, Matt experiences guilt
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Go get this exceptional novella for free on Amazon…right now! :)

When looking for some potential books to read with my favorite GR buddy I discovered this little gem, which has been sitting on my Kindle for close to a year now. (Makes me wonder just how many other great reads I am sitting on!)

This is a novella, coming in under 100 pages. For day one we agreed to read through to 50%, but this dang book drew me in so fiercely that I just kept going…all the way to the end in a matter of hours. :)

Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was about a son, Matthew, discovering his parents with fresh eyes after their deaths. Matthew's mother was a hoarder, much to his dismay and embarrassment throughout his life. But buried within that hoard was a history and a resolution that came to light as Matthew cleaned out the house.

At just 93 pages, this had a quick pace and no fluff. Don't expect deep characterization with this. Easily read in less than two hours.
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

Matthew Stanyer hasn't been the perfect son, although he's tried. He came home from Greece when his mother fell ill, but he can't bring himself to embrace his childhood home with comfort since it's miserable existence has been taken over with strange hoarding and shame. When he finds out his parents are missing and what's happened them, the hoarding takes on a whole new level of meaning.

It's not often I've read about hoarding, and I dug how the author tied this into a psychological secret the
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Got this book free off Amazon and what a pleasant surprise. I was skimming through the books available and something in the write up appealed to me and when I saw it was actually free decided to go for it. The book is only 93 pages long but some how manages to cram so much into it, the characters are well developed and the plot is fast but well paced.

The story begins when Matthew Stanyer loses both parents in a tragic murder-suicide and decides to go through their belongings to clear his
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Why haven't i read Maggie James before i really don't know she is a wonderful Story teller of this genre it was beautifully written & deals with health issues Hoarding & dementia a book i could not stop reading till the end

Matthew Denyer is worried as his Parents Joseph & Evie who has Dementia suddenly disappear his fears are yet realised when his parents house is found deserted so he calls Detective Hutton to report their disappearance on returning to his parents home he discovers
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it

This is a short novel with a lot to read in it. Its not so short that you feel you are missing out or something is being hurried. No, because Maggie James is an experienced author so she knows exactly how to weave a plot.

Here we have Matthew Stanyer parents, getting along in age. His Mother suffers with dementia, its getting worse and worse and her husband struggles to manage her.

They go missing.

Then they're bodies are found by Blackwater lake which is known as a beauty spot. Maggie James
Linda Strong
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Hoarding is more than just a mess ... it's a common problem difficult to treat. A hoarder has the compulsion to save anything and everything. They cannot bear to do without what they have.

This is one of the illnesses that affects Matthew's mother. When he lived at home, he never had friends .. he was too embarrassed to let anyone see how his family lived.

He has moved closer to home, now, because of his mother's early onset dementia. His father can't do it all himself anymore. He fears the worst
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novella was an intense mystery that also tackles the topic of hoarding with sensitivity. I cannot remember which review I saw recently that recommended this FREE story to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle-purchase
How did these books get onto my Kindle? Did I download them as freebies, did someone recommend them, did I mistake them for another book I was trying to get, did I buy them? I don't know. So, I am trying to clear my Kindle and reading all those books that I can't explain. I might serve myself better by just deleting the ones I can't explain.

This was not a bad book. It had what was supposed to be a surprise ending, but I hate to say it was cliche and therefore no surprise. (view spoiler)
Janie C.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
After years of avoiding his childhood home, Matthew Stanyer returns to find his parents missing. A note left for him by his father leads Matthew to the police for assistance. Matthew's parents are subsequently found dead at nearby Blackwater Lake. Mr. Stanyer had smothered his wife and then drowned himself.

The novella focuses on Matthew's quest to uncover his family's history. As a child, he was embarrassed by his mother's hoarding addiction, to the point where he would not bring friends home.
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
So many things to talk about!!
I loved the twists, I wasn't expecting the ending at all, and I couldn't put the book down, I wanted so badly to find out who did what!
I didn't like the main character too much, don't ask me why... but it was so great and different reading about issues like dementia and hoarding! It was really sad but I enjoyed how the author made us understand what hoarding is about from the inside, the psychological repercussions and the impact they have not only on the hoarder
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, kindle
A good novella. Matthew Stanyer is faced with a nightmare. His parents have gone missing and soon their bodies are discovered as a murder-suicide case. A tragic time as Matthew is also faced with cleaning out the family home - knowing his mother has always been a hoarder. What he finds among the hoard is what causes him to question whether he really knew his parents at all.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
In BLACKWATER LAKE, author Maggie James brings to us some excellent psychological insight into what it's like for a family to deal with life--emotionally and physically--when one of them is a hoarder. Matthew Stanyer lived such a way with his parents, both ashamed and confused as to why his family was so different than others. As soon as he was able to, he moved on. When his father finally tells him of his mother's rapidly declining mental state, Matthew's guilt propels him to move back into the ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
4,25 stars - English ebook - I have dyslexia - Review follows later. We enjoying the Summer eeather right now! ...more
Mariana Sasso
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is another great book from Maggie James!
Very suspenseful, got me from the page 1! The plot is very well written, and I limed tbe writers and their personality, which was very important to the plot. It is a fast read, a real page turner, if you like mysteries you've found an awesome read!
Maggie James is without a doubt one of today's best suspense authors!
Kath Middleton
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Matthew's mother, in her 50s, has early onset dementia and his father is struggling. Matthew's always been reluctant to visit the parental home as his mother is a compulsive hoarder. Then his parents go missing and he finds, after pushing through stacks of boxes and heaps of rubbish, a note from his father saying that he can't go on. Shortly afterwards their bodies are found.

This novella is a great little read and packs a punch. It explores the parents' backgrounds and the potential reason for
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Great little shortie with a real kick at the end. The author does an amazing job of delivering a complete & complex story in just 90+ pages. And FYI: currently free on a bunch of amazon sites.
Tracy Fenton
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my first book by Maggie James and certainly won’t be my last. I decided to read Blackwater Lake this month because I am on a quest to read as many books as possible and with only 94 pages I knew I could read this within a couple of hours. I am not a fan of novellas normally because sometimes they feel rushed or leave you wanting more. Blackwater Lake is, in my opinion, a perfect example of a novella which leaves the reader totally satisfied with the story and conclusion. This is a great ...more
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This is one of the few stories I've read that's tackled the difficult subject of hoarding. I must say I felt that Maggie James handled the psychological root of hoarding with such great compassion. And she did this while weaving the subject of hoarding so well with the plot. I'm sure that was no easy task, either.

I point that out because not many authors are able to provide the actual psychology within a psych thriller story. But if you like psych thrillers, then I'm sure you get all excited
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-liked
I can't express enough how much I appreciated this book. I have had a run of books that I either couldn't finish or forced myself to finish. This book was just under 100 pages but there were no useless fillers in this book. I love this style of writing. No long descriptions of the weather or things that just really didn't matter. This book had an interesting story with the perfect amount of detail that kept you wanting to know more. I would definitely read more by this author.
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyable story with a little bit of mystery and intrigue
Winter Sophia Rose
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Twists, Turns, Riveting, Realistic, Intense & Gripping! An Awesome Read! I Loved It!
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: suspense fans
Recommended to Ivonne by: Lisa G
Matthew Stanyer left his family home as soon as he could: His mother Evie was a hoarder. But when she came down with rapidly progressing early-onset Alzheimer’s, son Matthew returns home to help his father Joe. But, even with Matthew’s help, Joe decides to take action: He strangles his wife at Blackwater Lake before drowning himself.

Grief-stricken, Matthew begins clearing out decades of detritus, he begins to discover letters, photos — and secrets — that date back 35 years. Readers will enjoy
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Maggie James is a British author who lives near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She writes psychological suspense novels.

Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off
“It may not have been a lifestyle she chose, remember. Choice and compulsion don’t always go together.” 0 likes
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