Saturday, August 25, 2012

LAKE COUNTRY by Sean Doolittle

This is a story for anyone who has ever railed against the sentences pronounced on people convicted of a crime.  It begins as a successful architect with a lovely daughter, wife, and a beautiful home goes to prison for a weekend.  He had been sentenced to two days in jail for every year of his five-year probation.  This is his last weekend in jail for falling asleep at the wheel and killing a young woman driving the car he hit head on.  No alcohol, no drugs, just fell asleep.

Now you can understand how many people, particularly friends of the young woman's family, would be very upset at such a light sentence.  Considering the victim's older brother was killed in action in Iraq as well, it would make some people furious.  How could this injustice happen to such a nice woman as their mother?

The story is set in Minnesota (and I know a blogger there who would love this) with all the beautiful lakes and the good, down-to-earth residents of that state.  Two ex-Marines who knew the other brother are home and dealing unsuccessfully with PTSD and a battle against the bottle.  This is a set-up for yet another tragedy.  

I greatly enjoyed the characters in this book.  They all seemed quite real to me, especially the ex-Marines (I know, I know.  Once a Marine always a Marine) but also TV reporters, a barkeep, the family of the man who killed the girl, and the mother of the victim.  As one of the Marines tries to save his friend from committing a grave injustice, many of these characters are heading to the denouement among the lakes.  There's also a side story in which numbers-running loot is missing and the only character who seemed overdrawn in the meanness department is an enforcer looking to get the money back.

We know whodunit all the time, but how the situation will resolve becomes clear only as the story ends.  Very clever mystery with plenty of nail-biting tension.

Source:  Won from LibraryThing.
Recommended reading for mystery lovers.


  1. That's a tough situation. How do you punish someone for something like that? This sounds like a book that would make you think.

  2. Kathy, That's one reason I liked this one. I could understand the motivation because I have felt some sentences were unjust, either because I felt so badly for the victim's family or whatever. It does make you think.