Cemetery Lake is the second book I've read by Paul Cleave and it's the first in a series featuring the anti-hero Theo Tate. While overseeing an exhumation, questions are raised about the identity of the person's body they find in the coffin. Before long, bodies begin to surface in the nearby lake that is neighboring this cemetary. The corpse found suggests that Tate is to blame because of his failure in the past two years earlier when his whole world fell apart. Tate convinces his self that if he'd had his head on straight, the bodies would not be there so he goes on the hunt and hopes his past doesn't resurface as the dead have.
This first person narrative Cemetery Lake is one wild roller coaster after another. Theo Tate is a severely damaged guy who harbors many secrets and so much guilt. After a freak accident that leaves his wife as a shell of her former self and his 9 year old daughter dead, he is no longer the man he once was when working on the force. Now as a private investigator he has less rules to follow, but the constant struggle between right and wrong weigh heavily on him. As the novel progresses, we see him through many lows with few highs. I liked him most of the novel because he's determined to bring justice to the world, but his method of delivery may not be for the masses.
The first novel I read by Cleave, The Killing Hour, was average to me. It was amusing but nothing substantial enough to break away from the pack. Thankfully, Cemetery Lake has completely renewed my interest in this author. Cemetery Lake jumps from one situation to another without so much as a pause between. I don't remember a moment I wasn't completely sucked into the story or wishing I could read faster. This novel is definitely what makes me love crime thrillers. Although the ending was slightly abrupt, I couldn't take anymore jaw dropping twists, so I was grateful for this to finally come to a strong conclusion.
Overall, I can't wait to read the followup novels Collecting Cooper and The Laughterhouse featuring Theo Tate. Although Cemetery Lake was originally published in 2008, this US re-release will hopefully bring more fans into Paul Cleave's wake. Crime thriller lovers won't want to miss Cemetery Lake. I highly recommend this being added to the short list of what to read next. ****