Friday, 2 August 2013

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

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Against the white cliffs, the girl in the red dress was as vivid as a drop of blood. Even by moonlight, the rugged shoreline was visible for miles at sea: two vast cave mouths yawned, black stains scarring the chalk. The tide was coming in, advancing on a dark, rocky beach; the surf sighed over the shingle as the waves crept closer.
Pages – 321
Published by Indigo in August 2013
Book Summary
A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Jane was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…
*****
Oh my goodness! This book blew me away. It’s always a bit hit and miss with me whether  I’ll enjoy a crime thriller, as it isn’t my preferred genre, but this book really knocked me sideways. It had me yearning for my Richard Laymon days.
Within the first chapter, you’ve made Ryan your new best friend. He is utterly adorable, full of humour and sparkles with energy and enthusiasm. The story continues in alternative viewpoints between Ryan and Alisha as they settle in to Katie’s villa. Alisha has come a long way from her drink fuelled days and she really has strength of character oozing out of her pores.  The holiday is the first time the group have been together since Janey died and they are all hoping to be able to finally bury the uneasiness that lingered like a shadow over them.  But as James Dawson says ‘Rylan assumed Janey’s death was the finale. Turned out, it was only the beginning…’ I could not have put it better! I can’t tell you what happens as you just need to read it, but I will say it’s like being punched in the face regularly when you least expect it.   I spent most of the book gasping loudly and screaming ‘NOOOOOO!’ I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I didn’t have a clue who the killer was and to be honest, I was rather shocked when I found out. I actually want to read it again, so I can spot the evidence that had been so carefully planted throughout the book.
The characters jump off the page, exploring their past, their futures alongside their sexuality. Ryan is probably my favourite as he talks about every situation as though it was a scene from his very own reality show. I kept thinking of The X Factor’s Rylan, as I read it, as he is fuelled by flamboyancy and loves to hold the spotlight permanently on himself.
This book could easily be made into a movie. It has all the right ingredients to follow successfully in the footsteps of films such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Also if you grew up reading the Point Horror books then you will love this one.
This seriously was a stunning book and I do hope James Dawson sticks with this winning formula, as he just made the 80’s murder mystery / horror style novel so cool again. 

1 comment:

  1. I have heard nothing but raves for this book so far and am really looking forward to reading my copy soon! Wonderful review, so glad this was a hit for you!

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