I intended to use Paul Cleave's Cemetery Lake as my final contribution to Dorte's 2010 Global Reading Challenge at medium level. [Twelve books from six continents.]
But I did not find this book to my personal taste, and I don't want to end a very enjoyable challenge on a negative note so I will choose another Australasian book.
Cleave's writing is uncompromising, unpredictable and enthralling........Made me vomit-seriously it's that good.
Unfortunately I come from an older generation where vomiting is not a sign of appreciation.
Michele Peckham on the Euro Crime web site tells us "This is a grueling novel", and I would concur mainly because it is written in the first person narrative present tense. This takes you right into the action with Cleave's protagonist Theo Tate, an ex-policeman now a private detective with a traumatic past that makes the histories of Rebus, Morse, Wallander and Harry Hole look positively idyllic. Anyone who thinks Scandinavian crime fiction is bit dark and gloomy has not read the Australasians Leah Giarratano and Paul Cleave.
Why did I not like this novel?
Firstly there were plot developments that caused me to rapidly lose sympathy and patience with the protagonist, Theo Tate.
The other characters play a comparatively minor role, and so the book lives and dies on the reader's opinion of Tate.
Then a clunking clue was dropped early in the book as to what was going to be the problem, and possibly there were a few holes in the plot. Do people really behave the way they do in Cemetery Lake?
Also the novel was set in Christchurch, New Zealand, but there was no sense of place and it could just as easily been Seattle or Cardiff, anywhere it rained constantly.
I found the whole thing very depressing, and long before the end had begun to read Carl Hiassen's Skinny Dip to lighten my mood.
When the clunking clue, and the denouement came together, and all was explained I wondered if some people might feel offended by the plot line. But then what do I know, and I am sure a lot of people will love this book..........