A haunting story about the destructive power of secrets, The Secrets of Lake Road is an accomplished and gripping suspenseful women’s fiction debut.
Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.
Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family in this riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.
“This beautiful, heartbreaking, and affecting debut, reminiscent of the work of Heather Gudenkauf, will have readers craving more from Katchur.” Library Journal starred review
“This book is an extremely powerful read; power that entrances the reader and scares the reader right from the first line that speaks about death and the darkness of the lake. If these few words didn’t make you want to read this book, I don’t know what would. This story is about secrets that come back to haunt the characters and the price they pay for lying, while growing up and growing old. It’s a story of first love, parenthood, friendship and family, and is an extremely hard book to put down.” ~Suspense Magazine
“Karen Katchur’s THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD gripped me with its provocative opening sentence and held me in its spell until its final, shattering revelations. This is a powerful thriller about buried secrets that painfully resurface, innocence lost across the generations, and the terrible price we pay for growing up and growing older. Karen Katchur knows how to write and write well about ordinary people stretched to their limits. A suspenseful, heartbreaking novel.”
–David Bell, author of THE FORGOTTEN GIRL and SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW
“In really good novels, setting becomes a character in and of itself, which is the case in this lakeside character study…” ~Mystery Scene Magazine
“A lake’s murky depths hide past secrets in this unforgettable debut. Karen Katchur deftly infuses a summer lake colony with nostalgia—damp bathing suits, the bang of a cottage door, a pavilion jukebox playing old songs. But this summer, no one goes into the water. Part tender coming-of-age, part edge-of-your-seat suspense, THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD lured me in from its opening pages. Pick up this book forewarned that you will do nothing else until you finish reading it.” –Karen Brown author of THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS
At once gripping and evocative, THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD conjures childhood’s best and worst moments—its secret joys and terrors, its hopefulness and uncertainty. Katchur skillfully weaves between past and present, revealing devastating truths along the way. –Paula Treick DeBoard, author of THE MOURNING HOURS and THE FRAGILE WORLD and THE DROWNING GIRLS
The rhythms of a summer community, the tensions of an unsolved crime, and the thrumming undertow of adolescence come together in this sparkling debut. Beautifully paced from captivating beginning to satisfying end. –Kelly Simmons, author of STANDING STILL and THE BIRD HOUSE and ONE MORE DAY
“Drenched in atmosphere, mysterious and haunting, THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD dives deep into a community’s secrets and shows how love and heartache can be equally binding. I lost days to this book as I couldn’t stop reading.” –Sara Foster, author of BENEATH THE SHADOWS
THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD is an engrossing debut, skillfully unearthing the complex secrets of a deftly-portrayed small resort town as it navigates the aftermath of tragedies past and present.” –Jenn Crowell, author of ETCHED ON ME
“Karen Katchur’s memorable debut is a haunting story taut with suspense and packed with hope, loss and poignancy. It’s a tale about the heartbreak of parenthood, the exhilaration of first love, the evolution of friendship and the complexity of family. Readers won’t want to put it down until the final page has been turned and the heart of the mystery revealed.” ~ Marilyn Brant, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of THE ROAD TO YOU and A SUMMER IN EUROPE
THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD will grab you from the first sentence and pull you under with the power of the story contained within its depths. Karen Katchur perfectly renders the nostalgia of summers past, as well as the often unfathomable mystery of the lakes these summers are spent beside. Captivating and highly addictive, this story will break your heart – and then renew your faith in love. –Marissa Stapley author of MATING FOR LIFE
“With chilling unease that keeps you turning pages, Katchur deftly evokes the way youthful actions echo through our lives. Nostalgia wrestles tragedy in this haunting tale.” –Kathryn Craft, author of THE ART OF FALLING and THE FAR END OF HAPPY
THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD will have you turning the pages faster than you thought possible, desperate to find out what mysterious event has fractured the residents of this haunting lake. With her refreshing and affecting portrayals of mothers and daughters, summer communities, and the precarious age of twelve, Karen Katchur has written a book whose setting and characters will gnaw at you every time you try to put it down.—Taylor Jenkins Reid author of FOREVER, INTERRUPTED and AFTER I DO
“This is the perfect book for a sultry summer afternoon: it conjures cicada song in the heat, woodsy green shade, and a lake that hides its secrets deep. THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD is a true storyteller’s story, at once a relentlessly gripping mystery that builds suspense from its opening words, and also a wise examination of the trouble with mothers and daughters.” –Bethany Chase author of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY