Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: The Summer of Night

I am a fan of Dan Simmons.  I loved the shocking rollercoaster that was Drood and enjoyed greatly the complex Native American lore of Black Hills.  I didn't mind too much when he took his time getting to where he was getting because I figured it would be interesting.

When Summer of Night took its sweet time, I thought it was par for the course.  I also had a flashback to The Terror, a book that gave me nightmares and took too long to even start.  I nearly stopped reading once or twice: once because it involved a situation with an animal (which was telegraphed from the beginning) and once because it was boring.  Only an early tease prompted me to keep going.

In the end, I found it a long trip on a short road.  It wasn't bad, but it could have been tighter, which would have made it more intense.

A school in a small midwestern town is closing due to low enrollment.  However, a child goes missing on the last day of school, and administrators seem unconcerned because his family is not reputable.  A group of rising sixth graders become suspicious and begin investigating as only youngsters can: under the radar, noticed only by the driver of the redering truck.

The clues are funky: unusual but a little too far out to be plausible, even under the most extreme of circumstances.  Adults ignore the children at the right times under the right circumstances so they can discover clues.  People die under the most implausible cirstances, covered over by the slimiest of bad guys.

In the end, it's not a bad "junk food" book, but it's shouldn't be your first choice of junk food books.  You can do better for shlocky horror.

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