2 out of 4 stars
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The Darkness at Decker Lake by Martin H Zuckerman is a fairly short story about a small New York lake community called Decker Lake and the tiny village that lives a few miles away named Deckersburg. The population is made up of mostly older residents that have retired peacefully in old cabins in the woods by the water. This creates the perfect opportunity for middle aged con artist Harvey and his partners to carry out their scheme of illegally raking in money from Medicare. What was once a peaceful, idealistic town to retire or raise a family, quickly becomes a nightmare. There are disappearances coupled with growing anxiety and depression among the residents that live by the lake. However, George, who was once a top secret agent, decides that whatever is happening to his small community must be put to a stop before the shadows that haunt the town forces everyone away.
The word that comes to mind when thinking of this book would be dull. It is presented as a thriller, with a plot that will keep you guessing as to what is happening to the innocent people of a small town just trying to live their lives. Darkness is supposed to lurk around every corner, frighting the characters as well as the reader as to what is really in the shadows of the woods. The thrill lasts about ten pages leaving the rest of the book to be fairly unappealing. It is a tale of bullet points.
Everything is being described to you as it happens from the bad guys' point of view, so there is no mystery and no excitement. We are told what the con is and how it happened at the beginning of the book, and how it came to be in the most dry way possible. Also, it takes up most of the story. There is no fear as to what may happen, because we already know what has happened.
There are long, elaborate descriptions of the character's backstories, which, although is sometimes important, mainly is pointless and has little plot relevance or interest. Whatever character development occurs happens in about two sentences. The interactions between any of the characters mostly feels awkward, and the dialogue is stilted and simple. It doesn't ever feel like a real conversation.
However, if you are looking for an uncomplicated mystery, with a small town feel, this is the book to read. The author emphasizes on small town life and what it is like to be around people who, although keep to themselves, knows everyone in the community. He gives descriptive layouts of the streets and buildings that make up where these people live, and everyone who is mentioned is involved with the story in some way.
It appeared to be well edited, except for the fact that the characters tend to talk their thoughts out loud instead of think them. So most of their ideas are in quotes, which may throw the reader at first.
Overall I give this book a 2 out of 4 stars. I personally did not like it, as I found it boring with no excitement or mystery. I was not concerned with what was happening next or what the characters were up to, or who might be behind the darkness that was supposed to be lurking around every building. However, there were no problems reading the book itself or trying to understand it. I can see how someone who doesn't want an elaborate plot might enjoy this book, and that is why it is not a one star.
The Darkness at Decker Lake
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