Matthew Stanyer fears the worst when he reports his parents missing. His father, Joseph Stanyer, has been struggling to cope with his wife Evie, whose dementia is rapidly worsening. When their bodies are found close to Blackwater Lake, a local beauty spot, the inquest rules the deaths as a murder-suicide. A conclusion that's supported by the note Joseph leaves for his son.
Grief-stricken, Matthew begins to clear his parents' house of decades of compulsive hoarding, only to discover the dark enigmas hidden within its walls. Ones that lead Matthew to ask: why did his father choose Blackwater Lake to end his life? What other secrets do its waters conceal?
I've had this novella waiting to be read in my kindle for many months, and having recently been reminded about it by a Goodreads friend, I decided to read it, if nothing just to have a taste of this author's writing.
After Matthew Stanyer loses both parents in a tragic murder-suicide, he decides to go through their belongings and clear his childhood home. But this would be no mean feat - his mother was a compulsive hoarder who has filled all the rooms in the house, from floor to ceiling with all kinds of stuff.
"Perhaps some secrets shouldn't be uncovered."
While cleaning up the house and chucking out everything he comes across some old photo albums. The pictures within show his parents in a very different light to how he knew them. Little does he know that he's about to stumble upon a decades-old terrible secret.
I didn't think I would enjoy this novella as much as I did. Sadly, I frequently find novellas to be either hurriedly written or end abruptly, but I was delighted to find that this does not apply to Blackwater Lake. It's amazing how Maggie James managed to include a fully-fledged mystery in a few pages, and the detail to which the author goes, made me feel as if I was actually reading a full-length novel.
This novella is brilliantly written. It is fast-paced and I practically devoured it in under an hour. It encompasses a mystery within a mystery, a clever plot, realistic characters and vivid descriptions, and is certainly not short of red herrings, twists and turns. What's more? It's currently free on Amazon!
Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.
Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!
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Find out more about Maggie, including how to get her free novella Blackwater Lake, at http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com.