Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave

A chilling case of unsolved murders and mistaken identities unravels when a lake in a Christchurch cemetery releases its grip on the murky past in this exciting crime thriller from the internationally bestselling author of The Laughterhouse.

Cemetery Lake begins in a cold and rainy graveyard, where Private Detective Theodore Tate is overseeing an exhumation. But doubts are raised about the identity of the body found in the coffin.

Originally published in Paul Cleave’s native New Zealand in 2008, Cemetery Lake is the first novel to feature Theodore Tate. Full of the clever plot twists and sardonic humor for which Cleave has become known. Encompassing the universal battle against the darkness within in this entertaining crime novel.

From the library

This was my first experience with the author so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and I must admit that I wasn’t particularly impressed.

The main character, Theo, is an arrogant ass. Really, his arrogance knows no bounds. He’s a disgraced former cop and, frankly, a psychopath. He has no respect for the law or people in general. He routine steals from dead bodies, withholds information and outright lies to the police, and deliberately causes emotional damage to grieving families because he believes that he is a better person that anyone else and what he does is right. Oh, and he’s a murderer too, but that’s okay because he murdered the drunk driver who killed his family. The guy really deserves to be in a mental institution and not out with the general population, or given some quality time with Dexter. He has no conscious and uses violence and emotional trauma to get what he wants from people. He also has no compassion for anyone who he deems not normal - he ridiculed and dismissed someone who showed clear signs of untreated mental illness and took a sort of glee in their suicide. A suicide which took place in his office and after which he returned to said office and USED it while blood spray still covered his phone and computer. He just calmly laid down a towel over his chair and used tissues to pick up his phone so he wouldn’t get dirty from the individual’s blood. What kind of person even does that? However, this guy is supposed to be the “hero” of the book and, somehow likable. I frankly, have no idea how.

The mystery was vaguely interesting but Theo’s heavy handedness during his (unauthorized and illegal) investigation took any sort of joy from the reading experience.

The reader was also problematic as he had an unfortunate nasal voice that made him sound like he had a cold throughout the entire eleven plus hours. His performance was perfectly acceptable, but his voice was beyond annoying.

Overall, I was not impressed and do not feel the need to read any more books in the Theodore Tate series. With a psychopathic main character with zero redeeming qualities and a mediocre story I really cannot recommend this.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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