Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer of Night-Dan Simmons

Summer of Night
Dan Simmons
Dunne, Jul 12 2011, $15.99
ISBN: 9780312550677

In 1960 in Elm Haven, Illinois, school’s out for summer, but five twelve year old boys (Duane, Mike, Dale, Kevin, Lawrence and Jim) are happy to be free though they also know there is nothing to do. When Tubby the fourth grader vanishes, the friends investigate.

Jim believes Tubby never left the Old Central School. The recently ended school year was the last at the nineteenth century edifice. He climbs a façade and peaks into a window only to see a teacher who died six months ago. Shocked Jim falls breaking his arm.

Brothers Dale and Lawrence feel something dark hides in their closet. Their scornful mom looks, but the closet is empty. The monster moved under a bed. Dale enters the flooded the cellar finding Tubby's corpse floating there.

Duane researches old newspapers and finds a story about a Borgia Bell brought from Italy that allegedly had supernatural properties; it was placed in the Old Central School six decades ago. In a cornfield, a truck tries to run over Duane. His Uncle Art was about to provide information to the boys only he dies in a car cash while driving over a 100 MPH. Ghosts and other creatures attack the boys and their ally Cordie; as they conclude only destroying the Old School will save their lives.

This is a reprint of a 1992 horror thriller in which the kids recognize the danger while the adults snooze through life ignoring the warnings as children being children. The cast is solid as the gang of five and their female peer know the Old Central School hosts strange teachers, staff and activities. Summer of Night is an enjoyable throwback bumps in the night (and day) tale.

Harriet Klausner

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