It seems like there are 3 ways to write a book; Meticulously planned and plotted, with every twist and turn of the story anylized and thought out, Creating a story idea, a world and characters, and letting the writing dictate how the story ends, and creating a clear beginning and end and letting the middle tell itself. I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure Lakeman used the third method for writing Chillwater Cove. The beginning starts very strongly, with FBI Agent Peggy Weaver in the nitty gritty of a trafficking bust that goes suddenly and horribly awry, and in the aftermath, she stumbles across some pictures. Of her dear friend that was abducted and abused when they were children. This was a great way to lead into the story, and I was looking forward to what came from it. Unfortunately, once she returned home to Tennesee to talk to Samantha, her friend, about it, things start to meander pretty badly, and I lost interest quickly.
Her father is the sherrif of a small college town, still set in their racist and hateful ways, and he and Peggy have a troubled relationship that never quite rings true in the book, it always feels more like silly squabbling, rather than a deepset, long lasting problem. As Peggy investigates the nature of her friend's abduction, things get more complicated, throwing in Melungeons, dirty cops, racist spartan societies, conspiracies, land schemes, horse breeding and artificial women.... essentially, it gets muddled pretty quickly, and Lakeman seems to have trouble keeping some of this straight, there are plots that end too easily, others that drag on for too long, and some that never materialize when they should have.
However, just at the end, when you think everything should be wrapping up, yet you find yourself looking at the surprising number of pages still left, it gets good again, and the story takes on a faster pace and tighter plotting. It still seemed to leave a few plots dangling, and certain things seemed a little over the top, but Chillwater Cove manages to pull it out in the end, and becomes a pretty enjoyable book.
Now Reading - Hunt With The Hounds by Mignon G. Eberhart