Book Review: Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller

Summer of the DeadWhat’s it about?

The first death came unexpectedly.
An old man attacked outside his home, his murder a shock to the town.
Then the second death came and, with it, fear.
For Raythune County’s prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins, the inexplicable killings in Acker’s Gap are all she can think about. Everything – the oppressive summer heat, her absent daughter, her troublesome sister – fades into the background as she tries to work out who could be responsible.
As the tension escalates, and suspects begin to emerge, Bell will have to face demons from her own past as she comes head-to-head with a killer bent on destroying all those who stand in their way…

My thoughts

I hadn’t realised when I requested from Bookbridgr that Summer of the Dead was part of a series, however it can be read as a standalone. Following the plot is easy enough and references are made to the characters lives but not in any real depth as I assume these may have come before in books 1 and 2. The plots are different but with the same central character so I didn’t feel that I was at a loss in my understanding, although I may have felt more of a connection with the characters had I read the first two books.

As the county prosecutor the protagonist Bell has her work cut out trying to solve 2 murders in a small town. She’s a strong female lead character but is also dealing with her own demons; her unfortunate childhood and that of her sister Shirley and the fact her daughter won’t be visiting her for the summer. However, she battles on with her workload and seems to do all the investigating in the murders but the investigating didn’t seem realistic to me – not her place, maybe in small town USA this is how it works…I don’t know. Anyway she eventually puts 2 and 2 together which all comes to a dramatic conclusion .

Unfortunately I found the book to be quite slow and flat. I wasn’t racing to read it and found it easy enough to put down and go do some thing else; although it did have a good ending which I didn’t expect, which is always a good thing but it took too long to get there and I’m afraid I did skim read some of the passages which is something I rarely do, I just found myself wandering off thinking about other things.

I’m afraid I didn’t find anything earth shattering here, as nicely written and descriptive as it is it was far too slowly paced for me and I would avoid if you love your murder mysteries and thrillers more fast paced and gritty. Another blogger advised me that this book should have come with a warning to read the first two books in the series first and I would agree.

Many thanks to Bookbridgr for the ARC.

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