The Cry of the Lake
By Charlie Tyler
A gruesome discovery unravels a dark trail of murder and madness.
A six-year-old girl sneaks out of bed to capture a mermaid but instead discovers a dead body. Terrified and unable to make sense of what she sees, she locks the vision deep inside her mind.
Ten years later, Lily is introduced to the charismatic Flo and they become best friends. But Lily is guilt-ridden – she is hiding a terrible secret which has the power to destroy both their lives.
When Flo’s father is accused of killing a schoolgirl, the horrors of Lily’s past come bubbling to the surface. Lily knows that, whatever the consequences, she has to make things right. She must go back to the events of her childhood and face what happened at the boat house all those years ago.
Can Lily and Flo discover what is hiding in the murky waters of the lake before the killer strikes again?
I thought The Tree of Promises was a dangerous choice for hiding Amelie’s belongings. On a late summer’s evening the tree would be swarming with young lovers/potential witnesses. But Grace explained she needed to put the bag somewhere it would be found and somewhere that would suggest love had played a cruel part in Amelie’s death. The tree was the perfect choice.
We arrived at the empty clearing when the fat wood pigeons were flapping and chuntering into their roosting positions; sending dozens of white, fluffy feathers tumbling down to the woodland floor. Barney and I stood on sentry-duty, blocking the path which led from the main bridleway to the tree. I could hear Grace scuffling around the base, overturning moss and clumps of dark leaves, rearranging the woodland debris around the bag.
She was taking too long.
I hooked Barney’s lead around the peeling trunk of a silver birch and crept back to the clearing. I could smell damp earth and bruised nettles. Patches of white light shivered on the ground, lighting up a ring of sickly-yellow toadstools and within the pockets of sunshine buzzed clusters of tiny, winged insects.
Grace was standing, gazing up at the underside of the branches, clutching a garland of tiny sapphire flowers. She appeared to be lost in thought. I was about to step forward, to discover more about this extra detail she was leaving, but something stopped me. Her manner was strange; her ribcage heaved in and out and her lips moved but she made no sound. She bent her head, her auburn hair falling like a curtain over her face and kissed the garland before she looped it on one of the branches. Then she took a step back, her eyes downcast, while a solitary tear ran down her cheek. This was not part of leaving a clue for the police. This was personal and yet, in my entire life, I had never known my sister to have been in love with another person; she simply wasn’t capable of such an emotion. I retreated then crunched around in the undergrowth so that, when I re-emerged, she had turned back into a creature hewn from granite.
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The Cry of the Lake
Charlie signed with Darkstroke in May 2020 and The Cry of the Lake is her debut novel.
Charlie is very much a morning person and likes nothing more than committing a fictional murder before her first coffee of the day. She studied Theology at Worcester College, Oxford and now lives in a Leicestershire village with her husband, three (almost grown-up) teenagers, golden retriever and tortoise.