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Summer of Storms Hardcover – March 19, 2001

3.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The still-unsolved murder of her 3-year-old sister Julie has haunted Anna Jameson's dreams since childhood. Tantalizing bits and pieces of that hurricane-tossed night tease her memory, but she's put it behind her and tried to move on with her life--unlike her parents, who left New York after the tragedy and still don't venture very far from their Charleston home. Now Anna has an opportunity to make her mark as a photographer in New York, and despite her mother's worry and warning, she takes it. Much of the first half of this somewhat slow-moving suspense story covers Anna's efforts to make a place for herself, professionally and personally. But then another perspective intrudes: that of a group of forensic psychologists, known collectively as the Arcanum, who study "cold" cases and try to close them, often years after the fact. The "Sleeping Beauty Murder," as the killing of little Julie Jameson is known, suddenly takes on new urgency when an anonymous someone with inside knowledge of those past events gets the experts involved again.

Despite the obvious parallels to the Jon Benet Ramsey case (including the suspicion that a family member killed the little girl), it's never made clear why a 30-year-old murder should still capture so much attention. The characterizations of the Arcanum members are so thin and one-dimensional that we don't care about them, except to note that author Judith Kelman seems to have a particular dislike of one of the experts she sketches, a media-hungry, spotlight-grabbing, and thoroughly unpleasant psychologist who's almost as awful as Anna's new boss, a tyrannical newspaper publisher. Kelman's written more than a dozen solid thrillers (Fly Away Home,, After the Fall, etc.), but this one seems slight and full of extraneous characters, intentionally misleading clues and McGuffins, and unfulfilled expectations. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Set in a shadowy and sinister New York City, this taut and assured suspense thriller by Kelman (After the Fall, etc.) chronicles the rekindling of a long-dormant murder investigation and the return of a ruthless killer. Thirty years after her young sister's death, Anna Jameson is haunted by memories of what was dubbed the Sleeping Beauty Murder. On a stormy summer night, five-year-old Julie Jameson was killed in her bedroom while her family slept. Following this horror, her anguished parents fled Manhattan with three-year-old Anna and moved to South Carolina, where they never quite recovered from the shock. Fast-forward to Anna, now 33 and an aspiring photographer, who returns to New York to work as a photojournalist for a high-powered media conglomerate and to confront family demons. Armed with her camera, she becomes acclimated to the perils of the city: she captures a drug deal on film, escapes a would-be rapist and shoots a newspaper expos‚ of her neighborhood's prostitution ring. Meanwhile, Arcanum, an elite volunteer group of colorful forensic experts devoted to investigating unsolved homicides, receives an anonymous phone call from a woman who warns that Julie's killer may strike again. The group takes on the case privately, inevitably colliding with Anna in its researches. The body count rises as a spooky electrician, a fugitive serial killer, a heroic cop and assorted others cloud the picture. Swift pacing and well-drawn supplementary characters--like the bombastic media mogul Stewart Burlingame and Dixon Drake, a reporter who takes Anna under his wing--come together in this smooth page-turner that's sure to have fans reading into the wee hours of the night. Agent, Peter Lampack.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399146741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399146749
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,068,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Thirty years ago, Hurricane Queenie battered New York City. The storm made so much noise that no one in the next room heard the struggles of five- year old Julie Jamieson when she was murdered. The police investigated everyone connected to Julie, but failed to find the guilty party. To escape the media and the ghosts, the family fled to Charleston, South Carolina where they still grieve their loss.

The dreams of Anna, Julie's younger sister, come true when her uncle finds her a job as a photographer for a major publisher. The only catch is the job is in the Big Apple. Over the objections of her mother, Anna accepts it. As Ana moves into an apartment in Brooklyn, the Arcaneum, a semi-secret organization consisting of law enforcement officials, decide to relook Julie's murder. These two events trigger the return of a killer who has definitive plans for Anna.

Judith Kelman, known for her superior psychological suspense tales, creates a gothic style story line that sends shivers up and down the spine of the reader. The villain is hidden in plain sight with nobody suspecting the identity of the killer until it is almost too late. SUMMER OF STORMS is also a psychological drama about a family unable to attain closure over the abrupt violent death of a loved one. This absorbing novel will keep the audience's attention even if a thunderstorm booms overhead.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Judith Kelman's "Summer of Storms" provides the reader with an extraordinary insight into the minds of its characters. As the Jameson family deals with the 30-year old legacy of their young daughter Julie's unsolved murder, the reader cannot help but share the frustration of their lingering pain and their growing terror as the murderer reenters their lives. Kelman's unique ability to engage her readers in the experiences of her characters has been pervasive through each of her (now) twelve novels. "Summer of Storms" is certainly no exception ... a wonderfully gripping tale.
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Format: Hardcover
A JonBenét Ramsey-like case forms the backdrop for this intense novel about Anna Jameson's search to make sense of and identify the murderer of her sister, Julie, 30 years ago. This fast-paced book has Kelman's typically extraordinarily interesting main characters including Anna's family, her blustering editor Stuart Burlingame and her colleague, Dixon Drake. Even more fascinating are a host of supporting characters such as her landlord and a particularly loathsome customer at her photography studio. Perhaps the most unusual and engaging is the Arcanum, an elite group of criminal science and behavior experts dedicated to solving cold murder cases. I absolutely recommend Summer of Storms for all fans of fast-moving well-crafted suspense.
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By A Customer on June 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Judith Kelman has reached new heights with Summer of Storms. I was hooked immediately and couldn't put it down ...
I can't wait for her next release!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Summer of Storms is an absorbing and well-written mystery thriller that will keep you awake at night. Judith Kelman writes with great descriptiveness that brings the urban setting of New York to life.

The story opens with similarities to the Jon Benet Ramsey case. A six year-old girl has been murdered in her bed, while her family slept in their NYC apartment. During an historic storm, who could have entered the building undetected? Thirty years later, the victim's sister Anna has a job opportunity to return to New York. At the same time, unbeknownst to Anna, the cold case of the "Sleeping Beauty Murder" is revived. Strange events occur, then turn deadly. But why would a child murderer return after so long?

I loved this book and burned right through it. Kelman is really a gifted writer.
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By A Customer on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I thought that this was a really good book. The author keeps you in the dark about the killer until the very end. The suspence at the end of the chapters keeps you intrigued and makes it really hard to put the book down. Over all, I thought this was an excellent book.
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Format: Hardcover
Lightning dances across the night sky. Thunder claps, drowning out the desperate screams of five-year-old Julie Jamieson.
Nobody heard Julie's cries for help. Nobody saw Julie's life slipping away. Nobody but Julie's three-year-old sister, Anna.
For thirty years, Anna's repressed her memories. Images of that vicious night remain muddy and distant, especially since the Jamieson family fled New York for North Carolina and a new start.
Now, Anna's headed back to the Big Apple to pursue her photojournalism dreams. But she finds the city to be moving at a cutthroat pace. And her work's exposing her to the stereotypical dark side of New York.
In a secret project to enhance her career, Anna shoots some very revealing photos of a highly-public figure and finds herself at the center of controversy. The integrity of her work's in question, she's feeling the wicked bite of the city first-hand and a killer's closing in.
Meanwhile, a volunteer group of forensic experts, exclusively dedicated to investigating long unsolved homicides, receives a mysterious call regarding Julie's case, better known as the Sleeping Beauty murder. The Arcanum's investigation intensifies when they discover the killer's target is one of their own.
The "Summer of Storms" follows Anna Jamieson's career from a lowly portrait studio employee to a photojournalist for a top magazine conglomerate. At the same time, the Arcanum's investigation leads the group down a spiraling path of confusion as they desperately try to solve the Sleeping Beauty case.
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