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What Dies in Summer by Tom Wright

 

 

 

 

A riveting Southern Gothic coming-of-age debut by major new talent.

“I did what I did, and that’s on me.” From that tantalizing first sentence, Tom Wright sweeps us up in a tale of lost innocence. Jim has a touch of the Sight. It’s nothing too spooky and generally useless, at least until the summer his cousin L.A. moves in with him and their grandmother. When Jim and L.A. discover the body of a girl, brutally raped and murdered in a field, an investigation begins that will put both their lives in danger. In the spirit of The Lovely Bones and The Little Friend, What Dies in Summer is a novel that casts its spell on the very first page and leaves an indelible mark

A slow paced poignant story of loss and the innocence of a boy Jim. He narrates to you the trials and tribulations that he faces and how they prove to be testing. He does feel an air of failure about himself, a naive boy at heart not highly intelligent. He posses more than the average strain of innocence and kindness for a man. Unspeakable horrors are brought to him and deaths arise. Amongst all the failure he feels he’s had, he does prove to do an act that he can look back at as an achievement with a keen eye.
Jim’s father died a while back, his stepfather is of the violent kind. He now lives with his grandma due to this and loves his mother dearly, buy can’t be witness to her beatings. His cousin a young girl named L.A also is unfortunate to have two lousy parents foul and abusive she finds herself in company of her grandma also. These two really find safety living with their grandma and if it wasn’t for that fact it would have been a more harrowing life for them. They are really good friends, not just blood tied, they look out and care for each other. It seems this family is plagued with darkness but with one light old grandma.
Dead bodies of girls start popping up and a search starts. This is not a thriller hunt the killer down kind of story but more a slow paced account of two unfortunates, kins survival amongst all the darkness. There are many coming of age stories similar to this and that can make it a hard act to follow. I am glad he didn’t focus on the killer and murders too much. There was tragic moments and occurrences that stick with you. It was a raw and compelling in places with memorable characters.

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 23 July 2012

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