Terror at Mirror Lake by Hank Kellner
If you think Hannibal Lecter was evil, wait until you meet Luke Downing, a killer so evil he makes Lecter look like an altar boy.
Terror lurks in the shadows of Mirror Lake, where secrets of sex, lies, and death are all patiently waiting to surface from its murky depths. The small town of Hamptonville seems the last place you would find illicit sex, drugs, blackmail, and murder. But that’s exactly what Bruce Orum, his girlfriend Cindy Garvey, and two married couples encounter when they meet Luke Downing, a psychopath who takes pleasure by inflicting pain on his victims. At Mirror Lake Downing takes the two married couples prisoner and plans to torture and humiliate them before killing them. But he does not know that Sheriff Jeff Parker and his partner Molly Hutchison are on his trail and determined to stop him. From page one all the way to the breathtaking ending, you will find yourself on pins and needles waiting to see what happens next.
*I got a review copy of the book from the author.
Terror at Mirror Lake has some great twists, and delves deep into the backgrounds and psyche of all the main characters.
The plot is intriguing. Two men go to the middle of nowhere up north every year for a relaxing fishing trip. However, a death on their most recent trip changes both men forever. With heavy consciences due to the part they played, they decide to tell their wives the truth about their weekend to help free themselves. The couples head to the lake, but little do the husbands know that the wives have their own carefully guarded secrets.
And then of course, there is Luke Downing. Downing is described as a creep, and even called Luke the Puke, and he has issues from his childhood that have seeped into his adult life and turned him into a crazy, evil, sadist.
The interactions between all these characters provides great conflict and tension, but at times it felt the story spent a little too much time on each character’s backstory. There is also one whole chapter devoted to the dreams of six different characters, which seemed a little too drawn out.
However, there were a lot of intricate details, and by the end of the book I felt like I really knew the characters. I could sympathize with the wives, Barbara and Martha, and really understand the motives of their husbands, Hal and Peter. And the author Hank Kellner does a great job showing just how crazy Luke Downing is, and slowly building up to his menacing nature.
The book is full of suspense and moments that could play out well in a TV show or a movie. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing that keeps the reader guessing without giving too much away.
Unlike those in other towns—towns in which secrets were whispered over the telephone or mentioned at church meetings—Hamptonville’s secretes remained unspoken.
Some were buried in the tiny cemetery on the hill to the south of town. Others were hidden in the minds of the few people who lived in its dilapidated frame houses. And still others hovered over the town like shadows creeping over the landscape.
The story also has a lot of vivid imagery, especially when it comes to describing the scenery around the lake, where most of the action takes place.:
To the east, the trees petered out against the rocky foothills of a mountain. More than 5,000 feet high, the mountain seemed indomitable, impassable. Hope Mountain, the locals called it. Nobody knew why.
On the western edge of the lake, a footpath meandered through thickets and shrubs toward a small clearing. At one corner of the clearing, a dirt road snaked through the wilderness toward the town of Hamptonville eighteen miles to the west.
If you’re looking for a story with multiple dark sides, then I recommend picking up Terror at Mirror Lake. The title is apt, and I enjoyed all the thought that went into what made each of the main characters tick.
Published: December 31, 2013, 176 pages