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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Dead Lake


ISBN: 9781837562053

Publisher: Inkubator Books

Publication Date: 06/25/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

Two bodies. One Spring Break. And a school full of kids who won’t talk.

The bodies of two high school students are found floating in an icy lake, both showing signs that these were no accidental drownings.

The school is the first place to start asking questions, but Bangor Police Detective Rebecca Ellis and her partner, Detective Bryce Pelletier, hit a wall of silence when they try talking to the victims’ classmates.

Then a cryptic post on social media helps Ellis uncover the truth about a dangerous Spring Break tradition and what the kids were really up to on that fateful night.

She also discovers that the victims were romantically involved after recent break-ups, which puts the idea of a vengeful ex in the mix. But it soon becomes clear that jealousy isn’t the only possible motive as other suspects emerge. The only question is: who among them has the heart of a cold-blooded killer?

The Dead Lake – the third book in the thrilling series featuring Detective Rebecca Ellis.

My Review

Robin Mahle (fav) returns following No Safe Place #1 and A Frozen Grave #2 with her popular Detective Rebecca Ellis series #3, THE DEAD LAKE (all five stars)—when a dangerous spring break game goes badly.


Mahle reunites her most beloved characters—Det. Rebecca Ellis, Det. Euan McCallister, and Det. Connor Bevins and cameo appearances from past books —in a twisty new crime thriller with two cases that fans will devour.

It is Spring break for the Pinedale High School, and there is an annual spring break tradition around Pushaw Lake's campground—only a select few seniors are invited to this dangerous game of Sink or Swim. They are bound with rope. Everyone is very secretive and must not pass on anything that happens at this event.

The water is freezing in Bangor, Maine this time of the year, and a person could die in these temperatures.

Keegan Mills, president of the student council, is the leader, and two names are drawn, one female and one male. There is a cash prize. Who can stay under the water longer? There are rules.

Carly Stone and Anthony Mitchell are selected. They both come out of the water, and Carly wins. Then later, the two are found dead. A drowning. This was not an accident.

Carly was a brilliant student with a scholarship to Tulane. Anthony was her ex-boyfriend, but they were back together as a couple. He had been accepted to UCLA on a baseball scholarship. With their whole lives in front of them. Now dead. MURDER. They were both excellent swimmers.

Bangor Police Detective Rebecca Ellis and her partner, Detective Bryce Pelletier, are assigned to the case and are getting nowhere. No classmates are talking. With their recent behavior, Carly's ex-boyfriend, Theo, is a suspect, as well as Anthony's ex-girlfriend, Megan. Carly's best friend, Ainsley, is also a suspect, but she knows her better than anyone.

The case becomes complex and leads them to past senior classes who have been involved that are older—also, an IG post.

In addition, the lake borders two cities, and they must work with that department to find out about other possible drownings in the past and if they are associated with this dangerous senior game, and then the groundskeeper at the park.

In the meantime, as we left off from the last book in the series, sparks are flying between Detective Rebecca Ellis and Detective Euan McCallister. (I love these two together) Now that they are on separate cases, she is paired with Detective Bryce Pelletier, who also romantically likes her, but she thinks of him as a friend.

McCallister is paired with Det. Connor Bevins (age 25) and they are working on a dangerous high-profile drug trafficking case. McCallister, Ellis, and Bevins worked on the last case, Connex investigation, in the last book.

In addition, McCallister's Boston past is front and center in the media (which he confessed to Ellis the last book), with the latest Boston Globe article returning it to the surface. This is causing him and the department trouble, even though he was cleared of all charges—then a tragedy occurs. His boss does not want Rebecca dragged into this due to her past.

Rebecca knows this drowning was not an accident. Were they drugged? She must dive keep to determine the real killer since he/she may be involved in past killings and future ones. The case is complex and dangerous with many red herrings surfacing with interviews of parents, classmates, exes, past graduating classes, and the campground staff. Rebecca is determined. What is the motive of the killer?

We also get to catch up with her dad, Hank (retired cop), with a cameo appearance, and even her drug-addicted stepbrother is connected to this case.

A dangerous and chilling crime and an unstoppable detective!

What a great series! I hope this series continues, as these characters are too good to end. I want more Rebecca/Euan—it appears we may get into the dark past of Connor in the next book.

First, I was a bit worried when I saw the description that Det. Rebecca Ellis was partnered with Det. Bryce Pelletier instead of Det. Euan McCallister (big fan)?? However, never fear; we find Euan at 5% into the book and I could breathe easier. Their boss has them working on two separate cases. McCallister is partnered with Det. Connor Bevins, we met in the last book on a drug case attempting to get drug dealers off the street.

I respected Connor much more in this series; less cocky, and it seemed Euan was a good mentor for him. I liked that he came clean and opened up about his past with Euan in light of what Euan is going through and had his back.

I was delighted to see there are still sparks between the two Rebecca/Euan. I only recently discovered the multi-talented author Robin Mahle and was delighted to get in on the ground level with the start of this exciting series.

The author always delivers twisty heart-stopping suspense in this clever cop procedural crime thriller series with a cast of well-developed compelling characters, well-paced, crisp writing, and a razor-sharp leading character, Rebecca, you will root for.

For fans of Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan and Lisa Gardner's DD Warren series. I cannot wait to see what comes next!

This series is a great place to start, if you have not read this author. However, I recommend you start with #1. I read this one in one sitting, and unputdownable!

Thanks to Inkubator Books for a gifted ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: June 25, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars

Series: Detective Rebecca Ellis (cop procedural/crime thriller)



About the Author

Robin Mahle has published more than 30 novels in the mystery/thriller genre. She also writes historical fiction as Christine Chase.

Her most recent series, the Detective Rebecca Ellis thrillers, are published by Inkubator Books.

It is Robin’s fast-paced style of storytelling combined with tense action and thrilling twists that bring her readers back for more. So be sure sure to subscribe to her newsletter to keep up on all the latest releases, sales, and giveaways. Go to and sign up today!

Robin lives in Coastal Virginia with her husband and two children.







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