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Lake Country: A Novel by Sean Doolittle
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Lake Country: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Sean Doolittle

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4627251,994 (3.63)7
Member:arlenadean
Title:Lake Country: A Novel
Authors:Sean Doolittle
Info:Bantam (2012), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Finished Reading
Rating:****
Tags:Ex-Marines

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Lake Country by Sean Doolittle

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Review posted to The Mystery Bookshelf on 8th Sept 2012
http://wp.me/p6kwu-14E ( )
  johnbsheridan | Apr 26, 2013 |
In Minneapolis it is the fifth anniversary of the death of college student Becky Morse. She was killed by Wade Benson, a local architect who had fallen asleep at the wheel of his car one night and strayed into her lane of the highway. As there was no alcohol involved and because, as the police explain it “you can’t measure tired”, Benson receives what some think of as a light sentence: five years’ probation during which he must spend 48 hours in prison to coincide with each anniversary of the accident. Daryl Potter, an ex-soldier who served with Becky’s brother, is one of those who thinks Benson got off way too lightly and decides to take revenge.

I wouldn’t have picked this book up based on its blurb alone but thanks to friends with good taste I sought it out and am delighted to have done so. In what is becoming something of a theme of my reading this year it is a dark tale with a strong vein of black humour to lift it beyond the maudlin. The story is one one level utter chaos with kidnappings, minor gangsters and ornery folks a-plenty but the author’s confidence in controlling it all was never in doubt. It takes real skill to hide this kind of precision plotting until the final pages.

LAKE COUNTRY’s characters are fully formed to the point I can easily imagine conversations I would have if I encountered them (in my head these take place with me doing an undoubtedly poor impersonation of Frances McDromand’s performance from Fargo). When Mike Barlow realises his friend Daryl might have done something horribly worrying he is torn between knowing he should tell the police and feeling obligated not to after their shared combat experiences. This conflict is depicted so realistically and so touchingly that I might have wept but for the fact I was probably chuckling at the same time. Other characters too are much more than what they might first appear to be. Maya Lamb, for example, is a local reporter at the top of her game when she starts to question her own role in the kind of “meeting people on the worst day of their lives” stories she is known for and her mid-novel epiphany and its aftermath are a treat to watch unfold.

Ultimately this is a story in which almost everyone is trying to the right thing almost all of the time and still bad things happen to a lot of them anyway. Which is, I suppose, pretty close to a perfect summary of life (and the best of noir fiction). LAKE COUNTRY has it all: the right length, the right humour, the right sensitivity for its troubled but not broken characters. Highly recommended.
  bsquaredinoz | Apr 4, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lake Country is another offering by Sean Doolittle, an author I had not yet read. The locale is part Minnesota, part frontal lobes, and part testosterone. It's a good read. Quick, easy and entertaining.
Mike Barlowe and Darryl Potter are former Marines, each with his own demons. Potter's are getting the better of him and it is up to Mike to help him. Eventually, Potter invites more trouble than he can handle and it is up to Mike to save his life - if he can.
Potter is disturbed after he learns that a local architect is given what he thinks of as a light sentence after the accidental death of the sister of a fellow marine who subsequently dies as does the girl's father.
The potted Potter, who has more than a bit of anger resulting perhaps from PTSD, decides to even the score by kidnapping the architect's 20 year old daughter. Bad move. Bad thinking. Bad situation.
Mike must attempt to save Potter while keeping others at bay and there are many who would like to see Potter gone, baby, gone.
The characters in this novel are not wooden. Barlowe, Potter, Myra Lamb - reporter who thinks and has a conscience, Wade Benson - the architect who caused the accident, his daughter Cheryl are developed and sympathetic. The bad guys are not among this crew but they are present and looking... Recommended. ( )
  MJC1946 | Feb 27, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lake Country, for me, was about a young man who had lost his way and wanted to do something. Darryl Potter left the Marine Corps, but now he's just drifting -- no job, no prospects, and none of the sense of purpose that the Marines gave him. He latches on to a story about the death of a young woman, the younger sister of a man he served with, and decides that this is a wrong he can put right.

Wade Benson, a successful local architect, killed a girl. He was driving home one night and fell asleep at the wheel. He wasn't drunk, just tired. Becky Morse was severely injured in the accident he caused; she lingered in a coma for two days in the hospital before she died. As part of his probation, Wade Benson spends two days every year in the county jail, the anniversary of the days that Becky spent in her coma.

Potter decides that's not enough, and that Benson should suffer more for what he's done. He decides to even the score by kidnapping Benson's twenty-year-old daughter, Cheryl. His friend, Mike Barlowe, is the only person with a chance to set things right before they turn tragic.

Woven into this is the story of the reporter who first covered the tragedy, Maya Lamb, who finds herself uniquely positioned to be involved in the developing story. She's got plenty of upheaval in her own life to keep her distracted. Potter has other problems that may catch up with him soon, and those problems are armed and dangerous. Barlowe just wants to keep his last good friend out of trouble, preferably while keeping him alive.

I devoured this book -- tore through it in two sittings. There was something about Mike Barlowe, more than Darryl Potter, that appealed to me. Also Maya, with her career concerns and her fear that she is getting sucked into the camera and losing touch with her human side, makes an interesting character. There are some funny moments with her, but nothing that takes away from the bigger story.

Benson's story also touched me -- it's really the sort of thing that could happen to anyone. I've fallen asleep at the wheel and it's very scary, but luckily I only hit a few bushes. It could have easily been disastrous. He doesn't shirk his punishment, but he is not willing to sacrifice his daughter for it. And his daughter, Cheryl, is a tough cookie. You'll definitely find yourself rooting for her. This is a novel that I highly recommend. ( )
  LisaLynne | Jan 6, 2013 |
Author: Sean Doolittle
Published By: Batam
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 4

Review:

Sean Doolittle's novel "Lake Country" was quite a thriller read that would keep you turning the pages until the end. If you are a 'Doolittle' fan you will not be disappointed with this read. This story line will present a good dose of tension and many twist and turns along the way. The setting of this story takes place in Minnesota with beautiful lakes and down to earth good people representing the state. This novel deals with characters from "ex-Marines, a TV reporter, barkeeper, the family of the man who killed the girl... to the mother of the victim." "Lake Country" begins..."as a successful architect Wade Benson...with a lovely daughter, wife, and a beautiful home goes to prison for a weekend. Why? He had been sentenced to two days in jail for every year of his five-year probation. This is his last weekend in jail for falling asleep at the wheel and killing a young woman driving the car he hit head on. No alcohol, no drugs, just fell asleep." Now, who wouldn't be upset a such a light sentence that was
handed down? Would someone be over the top upset with this verdict? Now what would these ex-Marines...dealing unsuccessful with PTST and drinking problems deal with this...especially Darryl Potter? This is where I will say you must pick up "Lake Country" to see just what tragedy would come of this situation.

The author Sean Doolittle has layed it all out for the reader because you already will know from the read who had done it but still how this will end will be a story within itself presenting only a good mystery with lots of tension with its fast-paced action.

If you are looking for a good well written thriller you have come to the right place for "Lake Country" would recommend this novel as a good read. ( )
  arlenadean | Dec 5, 2012 |
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Book description
Five years ago, successful architect Wade Benson killed a young woman when he fell asleep at the wheel. His punishment: two days in jail for every year of his probation. But for one friend of the victim’s family—an ex-marine named Darryl Potter—this punishment isn’t enough. Potter sets out to even the score by kidnapping Benson’s twenty-year-old daughter. It’s a bad, bad plan, and only Mike Barlowe, Potter’s former combat buddy, knows how to stop it. With a beautiful news reporter, the cops, and a bounty hunter on Potter’s tail, Barlowe races to head off his troubled friend before innocent people get hurt. The hunters and the hunted plunge north into Minnesota’s Lake Country, each with their own ambitions and demons, each headed for a violent collision—and for one horrifying moment of life or death.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345533925, Paperback)

“Sean Doolittle is a young writer with serious chops,” says George Pelecanos, and Laura Lippman calls him “hip, smart, and mordantly funny.” Now the acclaimed author of Safer returns with a mesmerizing story of tragedy, revenge, and redemption.
 
Five years ago, successful architect Wade Benson killed a young woman when he fell asleep at the wheel. His punishment: two days in jail for every year of his probation. But for one friend of the victim’s family—an ex-marine named Darryl Potter—this punishment isn’t enough. Potter sets out to even the score by kidnapping Benson’s twenty-year-old daughter. It’s a bad, bad plan, and only Mike Barlowe, Potter’s former combat buddy, knows how to stop it. With a beautiful news reporter, the cops, and a bounty hunter on Potter’s tail, Barlowe races to head off his troubled friend before innocent people get hurt. The hunters and the hunted plunge north into Minnesota’s Lake Country, each with their own ambitions and demons, each headed for a violent collision—and for one horrifying moment of life or death.

“As long as there are writers like Sean Doolittle out there, American crime fiction has got a sterling future ahead of it.”—Dennis Lehane

“With 
Lake Country, Sean Doolittle has out-Fargoed Fargo. Already a master of Midwestern noir, he takes a huge, novelistic leap with his newest work, a complex, quirky, and tremendously satisfying story of revenge and redemption. If you haven’t yet read a Doolittle novel, you’ve missed the cutting edge of crime fiction today. Trust me, this guy is the future.”—William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of Northwest Angle 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After Mike Barlowe's friend--Darryl Potter, a fellow ex-Marine combat veteran--kidnaps the daughter of a man who killed Darryl's friend in a hit-and-run, it is up to Mike to stop his friend before he does something he truly regrets, but a news reporter, the police and a bounty hunter begin to complicate things.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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