Paperback, 324 pages.
Release date: August 1st 2013.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Source: Competition win.
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…
A compelling and psychological thriller - with a dash of romance.
I grew up on horror. Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and, latterly, Stephen King, were the heroes of my teenage years. I love horror movies too. None of the gore thank you very much. I’m all for old school creep factor. Oh yeah, and I have a real soft spot for nineties slasher flicks featuring young hot Hollywood. I knew then, that with my tastes, I couldn’t go wrong with Cruel Summer by James Dawson. This book has it all. I was hooked right from the get-go. Seriously. Go visit your bookstore and read the prologue of this book. I can guarantee you won’t leave the store without it. You’ll have to know what happens next. Cruel Summer is Christopher Pike meets I Know What You Did Last Summer, and there’s a whole lot here too for anyone who loved Gretchen McNeil’s Ten last year and has been looking for more of the same. Damn, this book is good.
Who Killed Janey Bradshaw?
That’s the question that’s been plaguing Ryan ever since last year’s killer cliffhanger (pun totally intended) series finale when Janey met her death on the rocks beneath Telscombe Cliffs. Janey’s death was ruled suicide, but Ryan has questions and he’s determined to find out the truth now that the gang minus Janey (R.I.P) is about to be united at his BFF Katie’s villa in Spain. Actually, the villa is Katie’s dads and it is ah-mazing. It has a pool and everything…Oh, I should clarify that Janey’s death was very real. It’s just that aspiring actor Ryan likes to think of everything in terms of the long-running TV drama series that constantly plays in his head (with him as the star- naturally). The High School Years ended with Janey’s death, but now the gang is back for a Summer Special in Spain. Whatever could go wrong?
James Dawson obviously knows his (Point) Horror and here he has a whole lot of fun with that knowledge as he takes the familiar tropes of horror and twists and turns them into something new and different. This makes for a very exciting page-turning read indeed. All the characters of those nineties horrors I loved are in this book with updates for the noughties: along with Ryan (a gay guy with a flair for gossip and drama) there’s Katie (the good girl), Ben (the heart-throb, also Katie’s ex), Alisha (the bad girl trying to be good), Greg (the Jock, also Alisha’s brother), and Erin (Greg’s tagalong WAG-alike girlfriend). So, who will die first? That’s what you should be asking yourself right now. Because this is a summer sizzler with a body count. Everybody has their secrets, and before you know it, heads will roll. Especially when an unwanted visitor turns up with some secrets of their own. Dun, dun, dun….
You want to read this, don’t you?
I can’t recommend Cruel Summer highly enough. I thoroughly enjoyed Dawson’s debut Hollow Pike when I read it last year, but in my opinion, Cruel Summer is even better. I literally did not put this book down once I picked it up, and I know a lot of my blogger friends had a similar experience with it. I give Cruel Summer ALL THE STARS and I’m already excited for Dawson’s next book Say Her Name (inspired by the myth of Bloody Mary – how freaking cool!) which releases in May 2014.