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Friday, July 05, 2013

The Summer Man

The Summer Man is a horror story. At a party in early June, Amanda Young has a kind of waking nightmare:  She sees a young girl she knows being murdered.  Her best friend tries to help her realize that it isn't a psychic vision, just the weed she's been smoking.  Unfortunately....

The town hierarchy would like to downplay the murders (because the murderer not only kills the girl, but then goes home and kills his wife and himself); Port Isley depends on its summer people, the tourists who are a major part of the town's economy, best not frighten them unnecessarily.  

Amanda's precognition doesn't end after the first awful vision, and the behavior of both townies and summer people  becomes more extreme.  Murder, suicide, violence, gratuitous sex--people aren't themselves.

I liked that the protagonists spread over three generations and the mystery of the strange behavior and magnified feelings that enveloped the town.  

I didn't like the excessive bad language.  It isn't really necessary to say f--- so often, is it?  It doesn't offend me in moderation, but when it becomes so extensive that you almost feel obliged to count the number of times it occurs on a page, then perhaps it is time to tone it down. 

 It does offend me to present intelligent teenagers as unable to communicate without a swear word and/or sexual reference in every sentence.  Language devolves and the ability to express genuine thought suffers.  Devon and Eric, particularly, become (or are to begin with) caricatures because of their language.  While most young people do have an impressive vocabulary in this regard, it doesn't mean they are all so dull as to speak in profane text, IM shorthand exclusively.  

Although the story keeps you interested, the multiple strange happenings and violence go on and on, making the reader aware of the length of the book.  Too much in the middle here, and it loses some effect.  The conclusion was certainly not what I expected and didn't seem to fit all that had preceded it.

I liked the premise; Bob and Amanda (John, not so much; large role, but vague character); the supernatural mystery; but there are quite a few drawbacks, at least for me.

NetGalley/Amazon Publ.

Supernatural/Mystery.  May 2013.  Print version:  488 pages.


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