Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hemlock Lake

Hemlock Lake
Catskill Mountains Mysteries
Carolyn J. Rose
Five Star
Waterville, ME
Imprint of Gale
Cengage Learning
ISBN: 978-1-59414-884-2
$ 25.95
314 pages

Change is one things that is difficult for most of us, especially if we do not need or want the change.  For the small community of Hemlock Lake located in the Catskill Mountains, the local residents feel this way. 

A new development near the lake of luxury homes will bring new money into the community but will also make the locals realize that their homes are old and shabby, not to mention their daily lives.
It is obvious that someone is not pleased with this new change and they are constantly writing graffiti and setting fires to delay this progress.

For Sergeant Dan Stone, Hemlock Lake is his family home, or was his family home. Now he has no family.  His father is aged, living in a nursing home, and close to death.   His wife recently died while on the lake and his brother shot himself.  Since he is having problems with this, he has requested that he be the one investigating the events at Hemlock Lake.  This should give him the time to grieve and also assist the law enforcement investigation.

"She'd loved the shadowed mountain, clean air, and bright water.
On her thirtieth birthday, the lake killed her."

Susanna died on the lake while visiting at the family cabin without Dan.  Nat, Dan's brother was driving the boat when she died.  He shot himself in the head.  With his father knocking on death's door, Dan feels alone staying at the cabin.  Is this what he needs to get beyond his grief?

Life in this peaceful community is difficult now that local residents have concluded that Dan is there to assist the developer who views Dan as a local.  This is obvious to Dan when a rattlesnake in placed under a shirt inside his truck.  Added to that, his great grandfather's double-barreled shotgun is missing from the cabin.  Who would take it and why?  Is someone trying to make it look like Dan is the one stopping the development?

Camille is new to the community and walks the line between the locals since she works for an elderly couple and the newcomers.  What is her agenda?  Why is she interested in Dan?

Hemlock Lake is a haunting and realistic tale with a grief-stricken protagonist.  Dan must resolve his past to move onto the future inside a community living in the past refusing to step into the future.  Both are similar and blind to what is most evident directly in front of them.   The characters intermixing with the setting is masterly woven into a tapestry with more commonalities than differences.  Even though dark with a depressing main character, Hemlock Lake reflects change in both the novel and the reader.

Carolyn J. Rose has written numerous novels with settings as varied as her travels.  Also she has collaborated on other novels with her husband, Mike Nettleton.  Hemlock Lake won second place in the Public Safety Writers Association 2011 Competition.

The sequel to Hemlock Lake is Through a Yellow Wood.

Hemlock Lake is a tale the surges through your mind as the reader investigates the crime and the past through the eyes od Sergeant Dan Stone.

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