Beneath The Lake by Christopher Ransom

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Beneath The Lake by Christopher Ransom

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: A frightening tale of a family who bear witness to a terrifying and violent tragedy on a camping trip by a remote lake that will overshadow their lives forever. Immediately engaging and compelling, you can feel the evil within.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Sphere
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0751555226

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The Mercer family are on the holiday of a lifetime at the somewhat remote Blundstone Lake in Nebraska. It is all the things a camping holiday should be; tranquillity and beautiful scenery in spades and lots of good old-fashioned family fun. When another family arrive, the Mercers try not to feel disappointed that their solitude has been encroached upon and do their best to keep out of the other family's way, but when the newcomers' family disharmony becomes violent and murderous, The Mercers have no option but to become rather more acquainted with them than they had bargained for. And so their lives are forever altered.

Thirty years later, a family reunion coaxes the Mercers out of their respective bolt holes to reconvene at Blundstone Lake. Raymond, the youngest of the Mercer clan, learns that his father is dying and that he is not willing to do so without confronting the past and making his and his family's peace with it. But there isn't any peace at Blundstone Lake. Far from it.

The opening melodrama and, frankly, violent horror of the first few pages is gripping indeed. Bursting with inexplicable and peculiar events, the reader is spurred on to turn page after page until suddenly and equally inexplicably we are propelled into the future by some thirty years, scratching our heads about what terrible thing had just happened back at the Lake. To say it was disconcerting would understate the level of backward page turning I did, wondering if my copy of the book had been printed with some pages missing!

What I can tell you that I discerned from the story is that there is definitely something malevolently supernatural going on up at Blundstone Lake, though if called to provide a detailed précis, I'd probably actually struggle to be coherent.

The trouble with an intriguing plot is that it must remain intriguing. It's a big ask, if you want my opinion, to deliver suspense, page after page. I'm afraid my fascination dissipated and was replaced with no small amount of bewilderment. Without spoiling the ending, it is difficult to explain why. I will just say that I definitely thought I had figured it out several times, only to be so disappointed at the end that I wished I had put the book down when I thought I had figured it out for the final time. My idea of what happened at the Lake was, unfortunately, more satisfying that Christopher Ransom's. As I write this, I still have absolutely no clue what happened. I don't enjoy a did-they-or-didn't-they-was-it-or-wasn't-it kind of climax, but that's not to say that another reader won't love that about it.

Having explained to you that I fuddled my way through the story, this book definitely has its merits and I understand that Ransom has quite a following. So, if you enjoy Ransom and his writing style, you might want to give it a try. Similarly, if supernatural thrillers are what drive your nightstand, you really ought to have a look at The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones which we at Bookbag thought was incredible and gave it a 6 out of 5.

Finally, a huge thank you to the kind folks at Sphere for providing a copy of Beneath The Lake to review. We also have a review of Ransom's The Birthing House.

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Buy Beneath The Lake by Christopher Ransom at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Beneath The Lake by Christopher Ransom at


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