Dead Lake is the first book in a series by Murphy Edwards centered around Vivid Valley Lake, a quiet, vacation community where families spend their days relaxing on the water, and criminals plunder its delicate eco-system for their own goals. It’s also a place of secrets, secrets dark enough to trigger an ancient curse to fester beneath its murky waves.
Charlie Nickles is the no-nonsense DNR officer charged with keeping the peace despite having to deal with corrupt local officials, greedy moonshiners, and an antisocial survivalist to name a few. When mutilated bodies begin turning up around the lake, Nickles investigates only to find himself confronted by a monstrous, undead fish-creature grown to monstrous proportions off all the bodies it’s consumed. This abomination shrugs off everything thrown at it, forcing Nickles to team up with an unlikely adversary to try and take it down.
This pulpy, action-horror novella is filled with colorful characters, vivid descriptions, and quick-striking horror. It’s broken up into short chapters, which along with Murphy’s fluid writing style, makes this a fast read. My only quibble is with the ending of this book which leaves things somewhat unresolved, but that’s something I’m sure is addressed in the books that follow. I’d definitely recommend giving it a read as it kept my interest through to the end.
Reviewed by Matt Cowan