Lake of the Dead: A Winston Radhauser Mystery #5


Rishima Reynolds is worried about her boyfriend, Parker Collins. He never showed up for his creative writing class. She hasn’t heard from him since he left for a remote cabin to concentrate on writing his book. The cabin has no phone and no cell service. Rishima can’t go to his parents’ home, because they filed a restraining order on her when they discovered she used to be known as Roy—and was born, physically, as a boy. Rishima loves Parker because he accepts her the way she is. He has promised to use the proceeds of his book sales for her transformative surgery. Rishima reports him missing to the local detective, Winston Radhauser, who begins an investigation.

This story has tremendous potential as a classic murder mystery: a missing person, a secluded cabin. The unusual twist of Rishima being transgender adds originality. There are problems with characterization, however, since Detective Radhauser’s actions do not always match his character. As a result, the reader questions his true motives. Lengthy descriptions of settings and clothing choices also slow the pace. However, other characters, such as Sully, an old man who lives on the lake, are delightfully developed. The story is well written with an ongoing sense of suspense and mystery. The author should be also be applauded for eloquently embracing difficult topics, such as homophobia and racism.

FS Brown