Fourteen-year-old year old Tommy and his two friends are sure they know who drove him to take his own life: the boy's father is also convinced and pressurises the local Sheriff, Tommy's father, to make an arrest.
But there is not enough evidence, and the boys decide to take things into their own hands.
A gripping tale of power, growing sexuality and the strength of rumours in a small community
Black's Creek by Sam Millar was published by Brandon Books (The O'Brien Press) in paperback on 8 September 2014.
Black's Creek is the first of Sam Millar's books that I've read, and I've been really impressed by both his writing style and his plot creation.
Narrated by young Tommy, this is a dark and brooding crime story that is very atmospheric and quite chilling in parts.
Tommy and his two friends are swimming in the lake, despite the numerous warning signs and the danger of the black, deep water, this is a regular haunt. When Joey Maxwell appears at the lake and starts to wade into the water they egg him on, everyone knows that Joey is a bit weird. When it dawns on them that Joey isn't going to resurface, they are terrified and Tommy tries his best to prevent the inevitable from happening.
Joey doesn't make it and it is this tragedy that sets the scene for the rest of the story. These three boys are determined that the person responsible for Joey's state of mind will pay, and between them they hatch a plan for revenge.
Black's Creek is not only a well plotted crime story, it is also a fine coming of age tale. Sam Millar layers the tension on each page, bringing to life this small community and it's occupants with great ease.
The location and characters, the resentment and passion remind me of R J Ellory's books, and Sam Millar has proved, as Ellory has done many times, that novels set in America don't have to be written by an American.
A dark story, often violent, but with a tenderness that more than offsets the gory detail.
My thanks to Real Readers who sent my copy for review.
Sam Millar is a bestselling crime writer and playwright from Belfast. He has won numerous literary awards and his books have all been critically praised.
For more information on the author and his books, visit his website www.millarcrime.com
Follow him on Twitter @Thebrinksman