Sunday, 1 November 2020

Book Review: LOSS LAKE by Amber Cowie



Author:  Amber Cowie

Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing

Read: October 2020

Expected publication: 10 November 2020

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Book Description:


Two months a widow, Mallory Dent has made the impulsive decision to pack up and move on. In remote McNamara, nestled in the northern mountains, she can escape her grief, guilt, and pain. But the day Mallory arrives, death follows her, lapping just outside her door. A woman’s body is found floating in Loss Lake—and it’s not the first death on these shores. Locals talk about a monster in the depths with an almost disturbing reverence.

Sergeant Joel Benson understands Mallory’s unease. Years ago, his own brother was killed in the home Mallory now owns. But that was just a tragic accident. Wasn’t it? The more Mallory investigates, the more fearful she becomes. Maybe there are monsters in McNamara. Maybe some have followed her there.

As a winter storm bears down, the refuge Mallory sought has become a trap. It’s time to face her past, the secrets behind the town’s friendly faces, and a reckoning that will shatter the eerie, icy calm of Loss Lake.

What attracted me to this book:


An atmospheric setting, an urban myth, new beginnings and unspoken dark secrets all form part of Amber Cowie’s latest mystery, LOSS LAKE. I knew I was in for a treat as soon as Mallory arrives in her recently purchased log cabin on the shores of the eerie lake that forms such an integral part of the story. There is usually an ember of truth in every urban myth, so what really lies behind the story of the monster of Loss Lake?

My musings:


Mallory, a widow at forty, has set out to make a new start in the small town of McNamara, in a cabin in the woods purchased with the money that came to her from the untimely death of her husband Graham. We soon find out that behind her grief lie other emotions, but Mallory – like the small town of McNamara – likes to hold her secrets close to her heart. She is shocked to find out that a man died in a terrible hunting accident right in the front room of her little house, a tragedy that seems to be linked to other untimely deaths the small town has witnessed since the dam rupture that originally formed the lake. Mallory is a nurse, and her scientific brain doesn’t believe in monsters. But will her curiosity and determination to find out the truth put her in danger? Or will it threaten to reveal some of her own tightly guarded secrets?


I loved both the atmospheric setting as well as Mallory’s unreliable narration, and both kept me frantically turning the pages. Most of all, Cowie’s writing beautifully evoked the landscape, the autumn woods, the eerie lake, the little cabin nestled amidst the wilderness. I wondered how long it would take for ill-prepared city girl Mallory to get into trouble here, and didn’t have to wait long. There wasn’t really anything supernatural going on here, but the remote setting and the lonely cabin’s dark history themselves created an aura of vulnerability around Mallory that made me shiver.


 Cowie knows just the right time to reveal her clues, and I really appreciated the constant ambivalent feelings of empathy and distrust it created towards the main character. With a finale that was utterly unpredictable and yet somehow fitting, the book managed to get in a final stab of surprise that will make it stick in my mind as much as the images of the eerie lake it had created.




In summary, if you enjoy slow burning, character driven mysteries revolving around small town secrets and featuring a remote, atmospheric setting, then LOSS LAKE should definitely be on your list.  I really enjoyed Cowie’s writing style and look forward to reading her other novels.



Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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