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What Dies in Summer Hardcover – June 4, 2012
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“...seductively suspenseful coming-of-age novel.... Wright, a practicing psychologist, expertly weaves together a literary tapestry of self-discovery, brutal sadistic violence, custodial battles, and tender, burgeoning sexuality, leaving readers spellbound by a story that delivers on several levels. The author’s impressive, multi-tiered storytelling talents are on brilliant display in this entrancing, impressive debut.” (Publishers Weekly)
“What Dies in Summer is a harrowing tale of loss, love, death, and unspeakable secrets. And Tom Wright, he can flat-out tell a story. He writes with intelligence, grace, and mettle. He sees what most of us are unable to see and says what we are unwilling to say. What skill, what courage, what a splendid and terrifying debut novel.” (John Dufresne, author of Requiem, Mass)
“A beautifully written and deeply engaging study of loss and innocence, suffused with chilling dread. A haunting novel, a captivating debut; I loved it.” (S.J. Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep)
“A compulsive and provocative novel, Tom Wright manages to combine familiar themes of youth―fear, desire, vulnerability and chaos – with a story that both unsettles and intrigues the reader. A narrative voice that’s raw and desperate, a story that grips from start to finish, What Dies In Summer is hugely impressive.” (John Boyne, author of The Absolutist)
“A magnificent novel, not so much about loss of innocence as innocence put through the masher. The story pulsates with a deep dread that would be unbearable if the novel weren't so sweet, funny, sexy and ultimately moving.” (Nick Cave, author of The Death of Bunny Munro)
“An erotic, compelling and deeply assured debut, midway between Ellroy and Faulkner. It evokes so precisely the beauty and sadness of first love and lost innocence.” (Sam Taylor, author of The Amnesiac)
“You will find fascinating and powerful women in these pages, demanding female relatives as well as local eccentrics. Biscuit, as our likable narrator is called, has a heck/hell of a year navigating family cruelty, neighborhood murders, his own sexual desire, and even a bear attack, but he always listens thoughtfully to those who would advise him. By the end of the story, life no longer offers Biscuit (or anyone) safety, but Wright shows beautifully how a boy can learn to become a good and capable man.” (Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River)
“Starred review. ...Even with its hints of southern gothic and mysticism, this coming-of-age novel keeps its solidly quotidian background. An unusually accomplished and evocative debut, in which what dies is innocence.” (Booklist)
“[What Dies in Summer] builds upon the framework of the conventional modern thriller to fashion something that is much, much more… Beautifully written… this raw, powerful story, with its undertow of dread, heralds the arrival of a major new writer.” (The Daily Mail (UK))
“A coming-of-age drama with shades of Stand By Me… a moving exploration of the vulnerability of youth, and of tangled family relationships.” (The Guardian (UK))
“Practically flawless.” (The Sunday Times (UK))
“Elegantly written… an unsettling novel about the loss of innocence.” (The Times (UK))
“...this accomplished... novel is... a mix of the fey, the fairy tale... and the unspeakably grim.” (Julie Meyerson - New York Times Book Review)
About the Author
Tom Wright is a practicing psychologist and received his doctorate from Texas A&M University. This is his first book. He lives in Texarkana, Texas.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main characters, narrator Jim "Biscuit" and his cousin Lee Ann "L.A.", are likable and interesting, especially L.A., who marches to her own drummer. I sort of pictured Macy Gray as Wright keeps talking about her unruly, fly away hair.
There's a serial killer loose in the area around Plano, Texas, where these kids live, along with Biscuit's girlfriend Diana, whose father just happens to be a homicide detective. Biscuit has the sight, sort of, and he keeps seeing a dead girl in his dreams. Then he and L.A. find the very same girl Biscuit's been seeing in his dreams dead. L.A. almost trips over her while they're out walking.
Both L.A. and Biscuit live with their grandmother, a church going lady, with two of the worst daughters imaginable. L.A.'s mother Rachel refuses to believe her father Cam has been "messing" with her, and Biscuit's mother won't protect him from her live in love interest, Jack, who imagines himself a professional boxer, when he knocks Biscuit around.
After the discovery of the body, the police connect this murder with two previous ones with the same M.O. The killer poses the girls after he murders them and he mutilates their bodies.
There's an interesting friendship between Gram and Dr. Kepler who see each other at their weekly book club meetings. Dr. Kepler is a confirmed atheist but she doesn't have a problem with Gram's beliefs. She's also dying of cancer.
Smack dab in the middle of the murder investigation Diana, her father and their mother take Biscuit to Minnesota to try to catch muskies, who sound a whole lot more vicious than I`ve been led to believe. Tom Wright screws up a lot of geography along the way; he's got Mille Lacs in Iowa and Bemidji just a few miles from the Canadian border. But he uses Duck Lake, which I'm pretty sure is fictional, as the muskie fishing site. Apparently these fifty pages are just there to advance a subplot between Biscuit and Diana. Anyway, if there was a serial killer running around loose, apparently targeting your best friend, L.A., would you run off to Minnesota fishing? Oh, yes, Biscuit finds teeth marks on the window sill outside L.A.'s window prior to leaving.
The ending is even worse. The killer is too predictable and our learned psychologist never gets around to explaining the motivation for the posing etc.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is lengthy and if you're into lots of pages with a lot of rambling, then you might enjoy this...Read more