cover image Cemetery Lake

Cemetery Lake

Paul Cleave. Atria, $15 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-4516-7783-6

New Zealander Cleave’s powerful third Christchurch noir (after The Killing Hour) introduces PI Theodore Tate. Two years earlier, the grown daughter of bank manager Henry Martins asked Tate, then a policeman, to investigate what she believed to have been her father’s murder. Tate found nothing, but now the second husband of Martins’s widow has died, possibly of poisoning. Martins’s body is exhumed—a measure that wasn’t taken initially—revealing some unpleasant surprises, and three bodies surface in a lake adjacent to the cemetery, one belonging to a missing 19-year-old girl. Tate, who’s been borderline functional since a car accident killed his daughter and seriously injured his wife, gets drawn into an incredibly complicated case that puts him at odds with his former colleagues and renders him a murder suspect. The unrelenting grimness, reminiscent of James Ellroy, and the uncompromising portrayal of a man in torment, make for a fully absorbing, if disturbing, read. Agent: Jane Gregory, Jane Gregory and Co. (June)