Garden Lakes, Jaime Clarke's third novel featuring Charlie Martens, finds Charlie employed as an Arizona newspaper columnist who has built his career on a deception he committed that inadvertently stirred up anti-immigrant sentiment, casting a pall over the state. But Charlie's story is really one of serial deception, a life of prevarications he traces back to a summer fellowship program he attended while a junior at an all-boys prep school. The chosen fellows were tasked with undertaking supervised construction of a house in a half-built development donated to the school by the bankrupt developer. The fellows lived and worked together and were tested when a transient girl wandered into the development after the disappearance of both of the fellowship's chaperones. What happened at Garden Lakes reverberates through everyone's lives, but especially Charlie's, which is forever altered by his actions that summer.