Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 320 Pages
At a Glance: I highly recommend Sunset Lake to you. It is an amazing piece of work.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Reverend Brian Lucas has a secret his congregation in the Nine Mile Methodist Church knows nothing about, and he’d really like to keep it that way. But even his earth-shattering secret takes a backseat to what else is happening in his tiny hometown.
Murders usually do that.
Brian’s “close friend,” Sam, is urging a resolution to their little problem, but Brian’s brother, Boyd, the County Sheriff, is more caught up in chasing down a homicidal maniac who is slaughtering little old ladies.
When Brian’s secret and Boyd’s mystery run into each other head on, and Boyd’s fifteen-year-old son, Jesse, gets involved, all hell breaks loose. Then a fourth death comes to terrify the town, and it is Brian who begins to see what is taking place in their little corner of the Corn Belt. But even for a Methodist minister, it will take more than prayer to set it right.
Review: Well, it has finally happened. I have been rendered speechless by what I must say is one of the most exciting and exceptional murder mysteries on the market today. John Inman’s Sunset Lake not only exceeded my expectations, given that this author is well known for turning out great stories, but has left me with nothing more than endless superlatives about this incredible piece of fiction.
A cold-blooded psychopath has come to the quiet farming community of Nine Mile. What seems to be a series of random murders has set the town on edge, and the local minister, Brian Lucas, is doing his best to help the victim’s families bear their grief. Having a unique inside view to the investigative process, due to his brother being the town sheriff, Brian has not a clue who could possibly be stalking his flock. Time and again he will turn to his friend Sam for both support and comfort. But these men have a deeply held secret that has been kept for far too long. In fact, Brian is in danger of losing more than members of his flock; he may have to say goodbye to the love of his life.
I never saw it coming. The murderer? The gasp worthy ending? I never had a clue, and I am an avid mystery reader. In fact, one of my pet peeves is that I often figure out the ending of a novel and solve the mystery before it is revealed. But not this time. No, this one was so cleverly written, so intricately drawn that I had absolutely no inkling of how it would all play out. When John Inman finally disclosed who was viciously killing the old women in town, I was shocked. But Mr. Inman was not done with me, not by a long shot, for the ending of this novel was perhaps the most gut-wrenching solution ever offered up by a novelist.
However, the mechanics of this mystery were not the only thing that made this story a nail-biting page turner. What this author does with defining his characters and revealing their inner thoughts and emotions is nothing short of brilliant! In this case, even the town of Nine Mile becomes one of the “people” in his book. With incredible detail and a constant barometer reading of the pulse and atmosphere of the landscape, the story takes on a frantic edge that carries the reader along with it. You literally breathe the air around Sunset Lake. You feel the rain and violent nature of the storms that descend on the town beginning on the day of the first murder. It’s as if even the elements know something evil has come into its midst.
Then, Mr. Inman introduces you to the people of his town and you fall in love with them. From Sam’s irascible aunt to the two young boys, Kyle and Jesse, and a host of others, the inhabitants come to life under the deft hands of this author. But the real stars in this novel are Bryan and Sam, whose secret draws you in and makes you ache for the fragile nature of what you hope will be a long term solution. I hate to be cryptic, but you really must read this story to understand all the complexities within this gorgeously crafted community.
It is no secret that I have been a fan of this author’s work in the past. This novel has solidified for me that John Inman deserves to rank high on any best seller list. He is just that good. I highly recommend Sunset Lake to you. It is an amazing piece of work.
You can buy Sunset Lake here: