“A gem of a mystery, fast‑paced and suspenseful.”
Catherine Coulter, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“An exciting debut, with all the right touches, captivating from the first page to the last. There’s a bright future ahead for this newcomer to the thriller genre—definitely a talent to watch.”

Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author
“Donlea keeps readers guessing throughout. The whodunit plot is clever and compelling . . . for fans of nonstop mysteries with a twist.”

Library Journal

No suspects. No persons of interest.

Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.


Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea




SUMMIT LAKE, Official Trailer
From Film 14 Directed by David Formentin


Set in a small, picturesque North Carolina town, Charlie Donlea’s suspenseful debut novel tells the haunting story of a murdered law school student, the reporter assigned to her story—and the intimate connection that comes when the living walk in the footsteps of the dead.




No suspects.

No persons of interest.

Just a girl who was

alive one day
and dead the next.








S U M M A R Y 

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 Castle thinks of the assignment
as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the efforts to keep it quiet, hint at something far more sinister than a random attack by a stranger.


As Kelsey digs deeper, despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and her secrets—the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past…



Summit Lake Audio Book

“Grabs you from the very start and doesn't let go! This gripping thriller keeps you at the edge of your seat and gasping in all the right places. Donlea spins a perfectly crafted story of two women, both victims of violent crime, searching for justice, redemption and ultimately—peace. You won't be able to put this book down until you've uncovered all the secrets hidden inside the picturesque town of Summit Lake." —Emily Bleeker, bestselling author of Wreckage


"This exceptional debut will challenge the most ardent reader to discover the culprit. The buildup to the startling climax is handled with kid gloves, giving away only as much as Donlea wishes to reveal, The ending is a stunner." 

—RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars Top Pick


“"Summit Lake makes a small town come alive through the lens of madness, misunderstandings, betrayal, and a pile of the kind of secrets that makes a mystery of a life so hard to untangle from its death. The pages fly by, zinging through the twists and revelations, all the way to the shattering conclusion." 
—Jamie Mason, author of Three Graves Full

“Fans of contemporary suspense
 will enjoy this brisk read.”


"Horrible things happen in Donlea’s…debut, starting with the murder of first-year law student Becca Eckersley." 
Publishers Weekly


Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea



Book Details 

Pub Date:  Jan 16, 2016  

320 Pages


  • e-book

  • Hardcover 

  • Audio

  • Mass-Market Paperback 3.27.17


ISBN-10: 1496700988
ISBN-13:  1496700988


Publisher:  Kensington 

Sold by Penguin Random House 
Language: English


Summit Lake  

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea


Book Details 

Pub Date:  Apr. 15, 2017   

320 Pages


  • Paperback 

ISBN-10:  9780786039180

Publisher:  Kensington 

Sold by Penguin Random House 



"A brilliant, haunting thriller in which The Lovely Bones meets The Silence of the Lambs—with a bit of Twin Peaks thrown in for good measure! Charlie Donlea weaves a unique, spellbinding tale about a bond between two fascinating women—one living, one dead. Full of unexpected twists and turns, Summit Lake is an irresistible page-turner." 

—Kevin O'Brien, New York Times bestselling author


From the Frankfurt Book Fair
SUMMIT LAKE by Charlie Donlea 
—February 2016
Charlie Donlea's debut is the story of two women –one, a dead law school student; the other, an investigative reporter looking into her murder.  Told from both points of view, we learn that each woman’s haunting secrets may overlap more than they realized.  Perfect for fans of the hit podcast Serial and those who love unreliable narrators and a shocking twist.


Tags: #Thriller #Suspense #Mystery #Psychological  #Crime  #Kensington
# Charliedonlea  #SummitLake 

@CharlieDonlea  #NorthCarolina
#WomenSleuths  #WesternNC


#forensics #fiction #BlueRidgeMountains

#AuthorCharlieDonlea #CharlieDonleaAuthor 

"Gripping!  This one kept me up late into the night." Nancy Bush, New York Times 

bestselling author

“A swift, outstanding debut.”

Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author

"Charlie Donlea has written a riveting novel, layered with secrets and intrigue. 
He reveals his story through Becca Eckersley, the young law student who was murdered, and Kelsey Castle, the
tenacious reporter working to bring
a killer into the light.  

Donlea weaves his dual narrative
together seamlessly for a gripping and tense mystery. "

—Allen Eskens, author of 
The Life We

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