Redemption Lake is a murder mystery. The book opens in 1989, and is set in Tucson, Arizona.
Eighteen year old Matt Garrison is a troubled teenager. Holding guilt from six years ago when he blamed himself for the death of his cousin, he’s since faced the break-up of his parent’s marriage and, when the novel begins, hearing his mother make new long-lasting wedding vows. Telling himself and everyone else that “forever” didn’t mean a thing, he dramatically leaves the wedding.
Matt seeks out his girlfriend for the comfort he needs, but finds her with another boy; they argue and he flees again, this time looking the stability of his best friend, Travis. But Travis is out, and only his mother, Crystal, is home. Crystal has been like a second mum to Matt for years, and she offers him a listening ear and a beer. One beer leads to two and both find comfort in each other, but they cross a boundary. Crystal insists Matt sleeps off the beer for a few hours, but he wakes twice, hearing cars leave the house. Needing the bathroom, Matt makes a gruesome discovery; he panics, then leaves, hoping to stop Travis returning home.
Detective Radhauser is called to a possible suicide; however, the autopsy disproves this result, and the case changes to a double homicide.
Throughout this book my heart bled for Matt. Trying to do the right thing only compounded situations and complicated his life further. There were plenty of red herrings along the way and I didn’t guess the ending or solve the mystery before the last pages, which was good.
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Tucson, Arizona – Eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead in a bathtub of blood. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal.
Detective Winston Radhauser knows Matt is hiding something. But as the investigation progresses, Radhauser’s attention is focused on Matt’s father. Matt’s world closes in when his father is arrested for Crystal’s murder, and Travis breaks off their friendship.
Despite his father’s guilty plea, Matt knows his dad is innocent and only trying to protect his son. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?
About the author
Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers’ Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.
Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count.