TBR: The Lake By Natasha Preston

The Lake is a dark, suspenseful tale about what happens when what was meant to be a fun, enjoyable summer at a summer camp turns into a nightmare filled with disturbing events. The main characters, Esme and her best friend, Kayla, have come back to a campsite they used to enjoy coming to as children and become friends with two boys named Jake and Olly, but when disturbing and troubling events start happening at the summer camp, such as a dead deer left in one of the campsite’s cabins, Esme and Kayla suspect that it might just have to do with a secret they have been keeping ever since they left from the campsite as kids.

This book has one main positive: the author does a good job of making the story suspenseful. While the ways the people are playing “pranks” on the campsite aren’t necessarily creative and are similar to ones in other books like The Lake, the descriptions of the setting and events throughout the book successfully make the story seem dark and even unsettling. However, the novel has three major flaws.

(note: spoilers ahead!)

First off, the sleuth skills of Esme and overall mystery-solving part of the story around the identity of the pranks’ perpetrator(s) is shabby at best. The way Esme suspects Rebekah of being involved in the pranks around the camp simply because she has a burn mark and so confidently states that Lillian’s accomplice is Rebekah based on this alone doesn’t make sense.

In addition, the ending is poorly written. Esme, chased by Lillian, suddenly runs into Rebekah upon
reaching the camp safely and then sees Olly. She stops and spends the time to have a full-blown conversation with both. This is extremely unrealistic, given that a lunatic with a gun is after her and her friends. I think any reasonable person’s instinct would be to warn their friends quickly and then bolt. In addition, Esme manages to hit Lillian with a rock on the side of her head upon which Lillian drops to the ground but soon after throws her gun at Esme to frame Esme and bolts to the forest. If Lillian was hit in the side of the head by a rock, she shouldn’t be all fine and dandy to be able to run all the way into the woods before the police arrive on the scene.

Lastly, at the end, Rebekah tells Esme that she decided to end her support of Lillian because she believes that Lillian had gone too far and Rebekah’s intentions had only been to play some pranks on Esme and her friends, but this doesn’t really make sense because Lillian has shown herself to be a psychopath way earlier, such as through the killing of a deer and the placement of it in one of the cabins, and the lodging of an ax into one of the campsite’s buildings.

In conclusion, The Lake successfully creates a suspenseful mood but has a disappointing ending. If you’re more of a casual reader and want some spooks, I don’t see too much harm in trying out this book. But if you’re not, I’d suggest looking for another suspense book.

Review By ~ Andrew

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