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Killer Summer (Walt Fleming) Hardcover – Remixes included, June 30, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Pearson makes the most of the theme of the lawman with a bunch of personal problems in his engaging third crime thriller to feature Walt Fleming, the likable sheriff of Sun Valley, Idaho (after Killer View). Walt's ex-wife is living with one of his deputies; Walt's teenage nephew, Kevin, is grappling with his father's suicide; and Walt's trying to raise twin daughters on his own. Meanwhile, a big wine convention has come to Sun Valley, and three bottles owned by Thomas Jefferson and given to John Adams are sure to bring big bucks at auction, unless a gang of super thieves, which has hit town with an elaborate scheme in which Kevin becomes unwittingly involved, steals the bottles first. But nothing is as it seems, and even the savviest readers will be fooled as Pearson drags poor Walt and friends through a series of clever twists and turns in this fast-paced nail-biter. Author tour. (June)
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From Booklist

Oenophiles may seem like a mellow lot, but there’s nothing laid-back about the criminals who’ve descended upon Sun Valley, Idaho, during the exclusive enclave’s annual wine auction. In Pearson’s third mystery featuring amicable Sheriff Walt Fleming (after Killer View, 2008), the lawman finds himself at the mercy of master thief Christopher Cantell, who is dead set on stealing three very pricey bottles of wine. (They were reportedly a gift from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams. But might the whole vintage tale be an elaborate hoax?) An explosion at the glitzy gala sparks a grim chain of events: a colossal roadblock, a stolen jet, and the suspected kidnapping of Walt’s beloved nephew, Kevin. Sheriff Fleming quickly comes to realize Cantell has more than wine on his mind. Now he must keep the peace among Sun Valley’s well-heeled as he frets over the fate of his own flesh and blood. Although his ending is a bit flat, seasoned thriller writer Pearson serves up steady suspense and a compelling setting in which members of society’s underbelly prey on those living above it all. --Allison Block
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Product Details

  • Series: Walt Fleming
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399155724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399155727
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ridley Pearson (www.ridleypearson.com), the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Wadham College, Oxford University, is the bestselling author of over 50 novels including, Peter And the Starcatchers (co-written with Dave Barry), The Kingdom Keepers series, and two dozen crime novels including: Probable Cause, Beyond Recognition, Killer Weekend, The Risk Agent, and The Red Room. His novel The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer, a prequel to a Stephen King miniseries, was a New York Times #1 bestseller, and a ABC TV movie (2009).


Peter and the Starcatcher, a stage play adaptation written by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) won 5 Tonys for its Broadway run and is currently touring the US.

Ridley is a founding member of, and plays bass guitar in, the all-author rock band, The Rockbottom Remainders (www.rockbottomremainders.com), with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Amy Tan and Greg Iles. The band has raised over 2.5 million dollars for charities.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on June 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Sheriff Walt Fleming is back. He and his department are guarding two ballyhooed "John Adams" bottles of wine set to be auctioned off. He is also trying to shoehorn in some fishing with his dead brother's son, seventeen-year-old Kevin. But duty interrupts their river time when Walt's ever-vigilant eyes notice a wrecker towing a Taurus away from town, and he chases after it. In no time, Walt, Deputy Brandon, Fiona, Walt's father, and Kevin get involved in a tense imbroglio featuring a trio of criminals, a wealthy man's private jet, a teenage girl tantalizing Kevin for her own ends, a tough ranch caretaker, that presidential wine, various dangerous diversions, and a string of nail-biting struggles in rough country.

KILLER SUMMER is more a "head-on" (or straightforward) thriller than Ridley Pearson's last Fleming novel, KILLER VIEW; it doesn't conceal suspect identities for example, and it begins less tautly but still captivatingly. Arguably, it is slightly more predictable as a consequence. It differs too in that it also revolves strongly around the teenagers, Kevin and Summer Sumner -- hopeful of attracting younger readers perhaps, but sometimes, particularly in their dialog, conveying a commercial TV type of young people's relationship. However, like its predecessor, KILLER SUMMER presents some terrific wilderness suspense as characters battle the elements and each other for simple survival. The Sun Valley area, vibrantly described by Pearson, continues to deserve to be oonsidered a pivotal "character" in this series too.

Walt, a reliable, intelligent man, bears realistic insecurities and conflicts in his private life. He feels most in control as Sheriff of Blaine County, Idaho, than as son, uncle, or potential lover.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Paul Mallon on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am an unabashed big fan of R.P. and have read every one of his books so it was with great anticipation that I started to read "Killer Summer".
When I finally got it I couldn't wait to start it... after about 50 laborious pages I realized I couldn't wait for it to end-even contemplated not finishing it-which would have been a first for a RP book ( I even finished the dreadful ""Parallel Lines")-but stuck with it although scanning the last 100 pages not caring at all about the outcome since none of the characters were the least bit interesting...nor was there even a trace of a compelling story line.
There is even a "love that will last a lifetime" devolpment that had me shaking my head since the Romeo and Juliet in question had known each other about 5 minutes.

If you want to "kill a summer"(pun intended!)weekend:then go ahead and read it.

I realize he has contracts with his publisher to fulfill but I hope he will wait a bit until he can get an idea that will produce something of equal quality to a number of his earlier exceptionally good works: "Hardfall","The Angel Maker","No Witnesses","Beyond Recognition" and "The Pied Piper" among others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on July 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is my first encounter with Ridley Pearson's Sheriff Walt Fleming, and Killer Summer was a good blend of mystery/thriller. Now I gotta go back and pick up the other two. I really enjoy the character and all the things he has to face in his life. Despite the fact that the plot lends itself to all the drama in Walt's life, I know from raising five kids of my own that these things will come at you in the worst of times.

Pearson's writing is lean and taut. He also introduced enough factoids about wine-making and glider flying and some of the other medical and law enforcement stuff that I enjoyed getting something of an education along the way as well. But those things mixed right into the story line and characters, and proved essential as well.

However, the pacing sacrifices a little of the character development of the ancillary players I wanted to see more of. Janet Finch, the specialist in wine history and wine bottles, seemed to drop right out of sight after her bit in the mystery was done, and I wasn't really ready to let go of her or the wine expertise she brought to the story.

To be fair, by the time some of the characters that revolve around the wine plot disappeared at the same time the suspense plot kicked into high gear and Walt's emotionally battered nephew Kevin was in danger.

The first half of the book took a little effort to get into, but Christopher Cantrell's hijacking of a car in the middle of traffic was cool enough to suck me in almost immediately. Unfortunately, the plot followed side roads for a time, including a jaunt down Walt's personal life that stuck out, before swinging back into the groove.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Killer Summer is the 3rd installment in Ridley Pearson's series featuring sheriff Walt Fleming. Walt is Quantico-trained, an expert tracker, a crack shot, and a very smart law enforcement officer, but he's disappointed his father--an ex-FBI guy--by opting to chase criminals in bucolic Sun Valley, Idaho, instead of chasing some more prestigious position. Still, high-profile trouble seems to find Walt. This time out he suspects that a gang of thieves is planning an elaborate heist in conjunction with a wine auction that's being hosted in Walt's jurisdiction. The prize: three bottles believed to have come from Thomas Jefferson's cellar. At the same time, in a storyline that eventually intersects with the wine heist story, Walt's nephew Kevin gets into trouble with a girl who's vacationing unhappily with her father in Sun Valley.

Start to finish, Killer Summer is a riveting read. I love the main characters: Walt and Kevin are both likable and smart in the face of adversity, which I find appealing. We don't learn much about the criminals Walt's up against--and I suppose I would have liked to know more about them--but we are made to understand that the ringleader is careful and smart at what he does as well. The various strands of Pearson's story are expertly woven together. The writing is crisp. Killer Summer was a book I really didn't want to put down.

-- Debra Hamel
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