From The Desk Of

Book Review: Summer Of Night

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SUMMER OF NIGHT by DAN SIMMONS


“A human being on this world, Duane realized with a shock of recognition approaching vertigo, made no more permanent impression than does a hand thrust in water. Remove the hand, and water rushes in to fill the void as if nothing had ever been there.”

* * * *


Summer Of Night may never escape the comparisons it gets to a little book that Stephen King wrote called IT. Both books involve a group of friends in a small town who must confront an evil force. Both books have oblivious parents and authority figures who are too wrapped up in their own problems to notice. And both books have sequences where the friends fight against the evil using unorthodox and even 'home alone' style tactics and tools.


But this is definitely a book that stands on its own, and goes down as one of Dan Simmons' best, IMO. You care about these kids. You care about what's happening in the town. There is a mystery and history-defining conspiracy that you want solved just as much as the kids do.


On the horror side, the creature scenes are great. They are gross, they are unsettling, they make you want to watch where you step or check what might be squirming around in the basement while you're not looking. In other words; it's horror.


My only real criticism is with the human agents of the evil force. There are a number of townsfolk who are acting on the evil force's behalf, and yet they are almost non-characters. They are there, but you only know what they are like from the way the kids talk about them. I don't even recall reading a single line of dialogue coming from any of them, almost like they were props rather than characters. But their scenes were still great, where they were also antagonists the kids needed to deal with.


Overall one of the best horror books I've read this year.


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