Summit Lake Review & Don’t Believe It Wrap-up by @CharlieDonlea


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 definitely knows how to write a darn good suspenseful thriller!

SUMMIT LAKE by CHARLIE DONLEA is a gripping, edgy, dark, and suspenseful murder mystery novel that opens up with quite the shocking scene, ends with a surprising and shocking twist but left us with some unanswered questions.    

As mentioned above, the opening scene was a bit shocking and a little darker than some of us were expecting, but after we absorbed that shock we were drawn into this story right away and couldn’t put it down until we were dealt with another shock which left some of us wanting to run and hide from this story.  But, we all soon gathered together to discuss that surprising twist, which we didn’t see coming as we shared some theories amongst ourselves.

CHARLIE DONLEA delivers a well-written, fast-paced and captivating read here that is told in a past and present timeline in alternating points of view between Becca (her story before her death) and Kelsey Castle’s (an investigative reporter looking into her death). For most of us we found both of these perspectives equally interesting and captivating.

We all absolutely loved the setting here with the small lake town which really added an extra layer to the story for us and that left us with a bit to discuss.  We also loved the characters from the town but left us questioning some of their actions. We have to mention that name too, Kelsey Castle – what an awesome main character’s name!

Charlie Donlea had us guessing and sharing a few theories and some of us pieced a few different things together. We have some very clever friends and some of us picked up on some of those clues that Donlea left for us.  However, he has this way of leading us down a path to where we second guess ourselves. Even if we thought we knew where the ending was headed and had our suspicions we were all still left shocked thinking WOW I can’t believe it that he’s done it again.  We really like that feeling which has us second guessing ourselves because we are not sure what we are supposed to pick up on and what we are not supposed to. Donlea does that so well and in the end with that second shocker just shows us how well Donlea can pull everything together.  

We do recommend this one with caution as there is some scenes we were not prepared for and found that they could be triggers for some readers.  So please check out some more reviews on Goodreads if you feel you might need a heads up or just drop us a message in our contact section of our blog or message on Goodreads and we will be more than happy to help with any concerns that you might have.


Lindsay’s Review

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 the brutal and devastating crime.

The plot unfolds brilliantly through a Now and Then timeline through multiple, yet equally captivating perspectives.  The story is gripping, the suspense is addictive, the pace is perfect.

I connected with the characters right away – I loved them!   My suspicions had me guessing and scratching my head throughout the novel.   I felt a few things were left unexplained at the conclusion, however, I was able to accept them and still feel fully satisfied.

This was another wonderful and fun Traveling Friends read.   We had some interesting theories and discussions along the way.  

Summit Lake is available now!   Get your hands on a copy!!


Don’t Believe It Traveling Friends Group Read Wrap-up

Brenda and I read Don’t Believe It with our Traveling Sisters and we all loved it so much that it became a monthly recommendation by us for reading groups.  Soon after we started our second group on Goodreads the Traveling Friends and it became our first monthly pic. Many of our Traveling Friends had read it already but there were a few that haven’t so they jumped in right away to read this one.  

It was a well liked monthly pic and we all really enjoyed discussing it amongst ourselves. Again, Don’t Believe It made for a great discussion and we enjoyed seeing our friends toss around their suspicions and theories.  Overall, everyone loved that ending and it left our friends thinking just how much they love Charlie Donlea’s writing. Charlie Donlea now has a few fans among the Traveling Friends.  We all look forward to seeing what’s next for him.

Our Reviews

4 thoughts on “Summit Lake Review & Don’t Believe It Wrap-up by @CharlieDonlea”

    1. Thank you so much, Lindsay! I think we can all agree that we all LOVE Charlie Donlea! 🙂


    1. Thank you so much, Carrie! Summit Lake has been sitting on my Kindle shelf for ages so I’m happy that we finally had a chance to read it and I hope that you do someday soon too! 🙂

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