The Cry of the Lake
Darkstroke Books (2020)
Reviewed by Mark Sneed for Reader Views (11/2020)
Charlie Tyler’s debut novel, “The Cry of the Lake” is a surprising story that begins as a murder mystery and quickly morphs into a captivatingly dark psychological tale.
There are lots of things in this story to take in. The first thing to wrap your head around as the reader is that Lily, one of the main characters, cannot or will not speak. The reasons come later, but initially it is a big question as to why she does not talk to anyone, even her sister Flo. There is a ripple of something in Lily’s past which haunts her. Then there is Flo. Flo is a mean and nasty character at first glance, but likeable. The past seems to have tinged both girls past and present. As I read, I secretly hoped the girls would shake off their mysterious and troubled histories. The third voice in “The Cry of the Lake” is Grace. Unlike her name, Grace is the darkest of the three. Grace, initially, is introduced in a loveless relationship. Like Lily and Flo, Grace lives under a cloud of mystery at the start of the novel.
Again, “The Cry of the Lake” begins one way only to turn from a murder mystery whodunnit to a suspenseful writing which leads the readers on a rip-roaring psychological thriller the likes of Stig Larsen. I know I am setting the bar a little high, but the third act of “The Cry of the Lake” is one of those don’t-put-it-down-until-the end type of finishes. The tension of the storytelling continues to build to the climax.
The conclusion of “The Cry of the Lake” has a bit of everything. There is the murder mystery. There is this psychological thriller. There is a shootout. There is also the resolution of an undercurrent of abuse which runs through the entirety of the novel, thus the comparison of Larsen. What was surprising and unexpected was the mystical element. There was always the fantastical element with a suggestion of a mermaid in the lake and, as a reader, I love the payoff of the mermaid. “The Cry of the Lake” by Charlie Tyler is well-written and truly an enjoyable read – a debut murder mystery that bristles with psychological and mystical twists.