Recently, I was contacted by author Sheena Lambert to see if I'd be interested in reading her latest book. The Lake, published under the Killer Reads imprint at Harper Collins, sounded right up my street so I accepted.
Set over the course of an All-Ireland weekend in a small village in Ireland in 1975, The Lake is a crime/mystery novel. In the small village of Crumm where nothing really ever happens, Peggy Casey is responsible for running the family bar. Her siblings are off doing their own thing - flamboyant brother Jerome seems to be more at home in Dublin, brother Hugh is working in London, and sister Carla is too busy causing trouble to help out regularly.
The main excitement in the village seems to be the possiblity of being able to watch the match on a colour television in Caseys - until a body is found on the shore of a local man-made lake. Detective Sergeant Frank Ryan is called down from Dublin to assist young Garda Michael O'Dowd with his enquiries, but although the locals are willing to help Frank - nobody seems to know anything about the identity of the person who died.
However - one person knows - and if the truth comes out, it will have a devastating effect on one Crumm resident.
I really, really enjoyed this book. The author could have gone down a very predictable route with Frank and Peggy, but she didn't. The mystery was given a satisfactory ending, and it was sad and touching in parts. I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the book, the setting of the Irish family pub isn't one I have come across before, and it was well written. It brought to mind the old smells of pool chalk, beermats and smoke - it was really atmospheric and all the characters were well written.
I liked Jerome a lot, I would have liked a bit more about him. I'd actually like a bit more on all of the characters - my only quibble with the book would be that it was too short, I seemed to race through it and I'd love another book featuring the same characters.
I'd be happy to recommend this, particularly if you're looking for something to read over a weekend or something to take on holiday. Despite the presence of death, it's not scary and it couldn't be described as gruesome - there was only one part with the pathologist that I found made me a bit squeamish but it wasn't overdone.
A really good read - it's out on March 19th, you can pre-order it for Kindle now here on Amazon, it's very reasonably priced and will also be available in paperback form.
I really liked the author's writing style, I've actually just bought her previous book on Kindle based on how much I liked this one. I'm delighted to have discovered another great female Irish author, and I'm really thankful to the author and publisher for getting in touch.