Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: Lake of the Dead (A Winston Radhauser Mystery #5) by Susan Clayton-Goldner @SusanCGoldner

Lake of the Dead
A Winston Radhauser Mystery #5
by Susan Clayton-Goldner
Published: January 16, 2019
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller


When Parker Collins, a gifted writing student at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, fails to show up for the first day of fall classes, his frantic girlfriend, Rishima Reynolds, files a missing person’s report. Though Parker has a history of alcohol abuse, disorderly conduct, and truancy, she insists he is committed to his writing classes, and is adamant something is very wrong.

Persuaded by the depth of her conviction, Radhauser drives up to a cabin at Sunset Lake where Parker spent the last month finishing a novel. It’s a manuscript his mentor, Professor Madison Hollingsworth, claims is brilliant. The Hollingsworth cabin has been trashed—the padlock on the liquor cabinet cut and empty bottles are strewn around the kitchen. It appears Parker has gone on a binge and disappeared with the Hollingsworth boat. Radhauser knows appearances are often deceiving. He returns to Ashland, hoping Parker is out on the lake and nursing a gigantic headache. But something about the cabin scene nags at Radhauser and won’t let him go.

The following morning, 72-year-old Homer "Sully" Sullivan, one of the lake's few year-round residents, finds a bloated body floating face-down near his cottage. He phones Radhauser, terrified it could be Parker Collins—the boy Sully befriended and has come to love. Will this missing person’s case become a murder investigation?

My Review:

A young college student, Parker Collins goes to Sunset Lake to spend a month at a cabin that belongs to one of his professors at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Parker intends on doing some writing in his manuscript.

At the end of his month stay at Sunset Lake Parker is supposed to return to college as it is the first day of classes. When he fails to show up his girlfriend Rishima Reynolds, contacts Detective Winston Radhauser to report Parker missing. Parker has had some issues in the past but Rishima unlike others knows how much writing means to him.

Radhauser takes a drive up to the lake to see if he can find Parker upon his arrival he finds that Parker is nowhere to be seen but the cabin looks as if Parker or someone decided to have a party. Either Parker went on a drinking binge all by himself or he had a few friends over. The cabin had been trashed with beer bottles lying all over the place.

After his investigation at the cabin Radhauser talks to a few of the residents who live at the lake year round. One of the people he talks to is Homer “Sully” Sullivan who has a lot to tell Radhauser about Parker, about how nice of a guy he seemed to be and that they had become friends in the short time he had been at the lake. Later on after Radhauser returns home he gets a call from Sully letting him know that he found a dead body floating in the lake. Sully is not sure who the person is and hopes that it is not Parker.

After Radhauser starts his investigation, suspects start turning up left and right. Radhauser has more suspects than he knows what to do with. The suspects all have their motives and secrets to hide. Lake of the Dead has lots of secrets and it hides them well between its covers only spewing them out at the right moment in time.

Lake of the Dead had me hanging on like a fish on hook it would reel me giving me just enough information to keep me hooked and flipping the pages. One minute I would think that I had it all figured out and just knew whodunit and the next I was like what no way but all of Susan’s books are like that. Lake of the Dead took me down so many roads and each one looked as if they could be the right one but then there would be a twist and I would be headed in a complete different direction.

Lake of the Dead is the fifth book in the Winston Radhauser Mystery. I have read all of the books in the Winston Radhauser Mystery and each one seems to get better and better. In my opinion each of the Winston Radhauser Mystery books can be read in any order but I do suggest that you begin with the first book in the series, Redemption Lake for a more enjoyable experience and to get Detective Winston Radhauser’s back ground info first hand so to speak.

Although each book gives you enough info so that you don’t feel lost or that you are missing out it is so much better if you are there as they say, so that you can experience it all for yourself. What I am trying to say is check out all of the books in the Winston Radhauser Mystery. My suggested reading order is as follows - Redemption Lake, When Time is a River, A River of Silence, and River of Shame.  


Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. 

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. 

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