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Blue Lake, a novel 
Available wherever books are sold. 

Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2022,

Starred Review

Best of the Indie Press Award

When greed, the law and secrets collide, someone is going to get hurt.


Two lonely souls meet in the workplace. Jason Erickson is a state judge hearing environmental cases who's getting unwelcome political pressure. Tara Highsmith is an environmental journalist covering some of Jason's cases, though she's soon to be exiled to the Science and Health beat. As their relationship develops, Jason and Tara discover shared passions for the Wisconsin wilderness, their book club, and each other. But Tara is married.


Meanwhile, Jason grows increasingly concerned about a strange conversation with an attorney. Was it an attempt at a bribe? Jason finds himself embroiled in several high-stakes ethical dilemmas involving powerful political figures, groundwater polluters, a corrupt developer, and his feelings for Tara.  The list of Jason’s enemies swells as he fights to stay true to his personal and professional principles. Before long, the story takes a violent turn.


Full of intrigue, passion, and suspense, Blue Lake sets the stage for a thrilling mystery set against the rich beauty of black spruces, white pines, and austere Upper Midwest lakes. This compelling and richly layered story lands with rare emotional depth.

"An impressive, wonderfully detailed legal thriller showing the best and worst of humanity...Boldt is a retired administrative law judge and passionate about justice and the environment, and this shows on every page of this remarkable novel. It’s no surprise that the courtroom scenes are so well handled. Jason is a finely drawn and thoughtful character, as is Tara. Their falling in love is delightfully paced. These are idealistic and wary people who make their own slow magic."

Kirkus Review.  Starred review.


"A smart legal thriller. Boldt does for the wilds of the Upper Midwest what Grisham did to the backwoods of the Deep South." 

Stephan Eirik Clark, author of Sweetness #9


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Advanced Praise for

Blue Lake, a novel

by Jeffrey D. Boldt

The personal meets the political in spectacular fashion in Jeffrey Boldt's suspenseful tale about the lengths people will go to exploit and protect natural resources. Boldt's experience as an attorney and judge informs this taut, well-crafted legal thriller, and he provides an inside look at how competing interests duke it out while climate change looms, and the stakes couldn't be higher.


Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season and The Second Home

Blue Lake is at once a legal thriller, a romance, a mystery, and a poignant defense of the waters, woods and wildlife of the Upper Midwest. Warm and generous, serious and comic, eloquent and thoughtful, the novel underscores the ongoing tension between humans and our environment and ultimately celebrates the natural beauty we continue to take for granted. 


Lindsay Starck, author, Noah's Wife

Part love story, courtroom drama, and thoughtful meditation on pressing environmental concerns, Blue Lake is also a well observed and stirring love letter to the Upper Midwest.

Ted Thompson, author, The Land of Steady Habits. His novel was adapted into a film for Netflix by Nicole Holofcener. 



Blue Lake is a thoughtful, entertaining, and insightful novel featuring refreshingly grownup characters who deal with complex, real-life issues of love and loss, set against a backdrop of murder, mystery, intrigue, and climate change. The novel’s Wisconsin setting is beautifully rendered with lovely, evocative descriptions of the state’s small towns, rural idylls, and natural attractions. 


Elizabeth Ridley, author, Searching for Celia

Blue Lake takes the reader behind courtroom walls, where a love story battles greed and murderous intent. Jeffrey Boldt’s novel is an insider story, offered to us by a writer who knows this world.

Cass Dalglish, author, Nin; poet, Humming the Blues


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