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Publisher's Summary

It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic childhood. But amid the sun-drenched cornfields, their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Strange and horrifying events begin to overtake everyday life, spreading terror through the once-peaceful town. Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood against an arcane abomination who owns the night....
©2011 Dan Simmons (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“Impressive...combines beautiful writing and suspense into a book for which Dan Simmons deserves the bestseller status of King and Koontz.” ( The Denver Post)
“One can only wonder what Simmons will do next, now that he’s shown us he can do everything the best writers in horror and science fiction can do.” ( The Philadelphia Inquirer)
“It stands with the best of King and Straub in the traditional modern horror genre.” ( Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jan on 10-31-14

Go Ahead...Take A Stroll Down Horror Lane

I read the reviews before buying this audiobook, and was surprised by the vast differences in reviewer opinion. For some, the book was too long, and others never wanted it to end.

This novel is long, but if you grew up in the 50,s 60;s, or 70;s, you will probably feel a sense of nostalgia. If you grew up before those decades, I would imagine the book would seem wordy and too lengthy.

Summer of Night falls somwhere between "It" and "Stand By Me" in the dewey decimal system of your mind, which are both by Stehen King. I loved this novel, and think the writing vividly depicts a coming- of- age story involving several teen boys. They cus, they drink, they go on adventures. They have good parents, they have awful parents, and they rely on each other.

There is the issue of childhood death in this story along with the parental grief that follows. That kind of raw emotion has always been difficult for me to take as a reader, but Simmons manages to make it part of the overall horror story instead of an emotional mess.

The writing is good, I got lost in the book, and I really liked the characters and the charater development. Dan John Miller was an excellent choie for narration.

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44 of 45 people found this review helpful

By Jeff on 11-06-12

Excellent well-developed thriller / youth story

Dan Simmons is one of my favorite writers. I've previously read Song of Kali, the Hyperion Cantos, Carrion Comfort, and Prayers to Broken Stones. I sometimes feel apprehension when reading a previously unread novel by an author I've come to love, because of the potential disappointment when the spell is broken. It's been broken (and redeemed) many times by Stephen King.
No worries then, on Summer of Night! This is a story reminiscent of two other novels I know, both by Stephen King: It and The Body (which appeared in Different Seasons and was the basis for the movie Stand By Me). I would not say that this is a derivative work, however. Simmons has his own ideas and agendas. The story is thrilling and the characters are rich and diverse, and though it sounds hackneyed, the portrait of small town life is on the money. If you've ever been afraid of your elementary school basement or hung out with a clever group of school kids, this book will resonate with you. Despite the age of the kids in the story, this is not a juvenile work and deserves a mature audience rating for violence (though not really more so than The Illiad), language (though again, probably not more so than Slaughter House Five), etc.
There may be some in-jokes or nods in Summer of Night. Duane may be a particular version of the detective in Carrion Comfort. I believe that the character Harland is a playful nod to Harlan Ellison, given their similar attitudes and, well, vernacular.
By way of explanation, I do not practice "inflation" in my ratings. I give the story four stars only because five stars is reserved for excellent works of deep significant: Ulysses, The Grapes of Wrath, Dune, The Name of the Rose, Shogun, and works of this level. Catcher in the Rye would be a four-star by my reckoning.
The audiobook was among the best performed that I've listened to. It was certainly well above the recording of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (which often sounded like an Al Franken SNL skit).

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34 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Gustav on 08-19-12

Spellbinding horror in a sleepy town

Remember all those movies that came out when we were kids, about other kids getting into trouble and solving smuggling mysteries or uncovering old buried treasure all the while their parents had no idea and just wanted them back for dinner on time? This is that movie, cranked up to max! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By sarahmoose2000 on 08-22-11

Stand By Me with zombies

The school holidays are just starting and the boys are delighted that the school is being demolished. Days of bike riding and baseball are interrupted when a school child goes missing and the boys take it upon themselves to police their town. Their sleuthing puts them in danger, but it's not a physical threat, something otherworldly is going on..... does the recently closed down school house more than desks and blackboards?

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Brian M on 12-18-17

Riffing on King's IT - Not Original But Good

Any additional comments?

Dan Simmons obviously has a thing for King's sepia coloured view of small-town America in the 1960s. A place where all is good and wholesome and right. At least until the evil rises and bad things happen to good people. If you've read King's IT you'll know where this story is going early on. As in a very real sense, this is an IT 'rip-off'. Which is a good thing and a bad thing, depending on your point of view. I guess what I'm saying is, this isn't the most original thing you're ever going to read. But don't be put off by that. Dan Simmons is a good writer, and the characters in this are well drawn. And I'd have no problem reading another Dan Simmons book somewhere down the line.Dan John Miller's read was solid. Not enough variation on individual character voices, etc for my liking. But again, it was nothing that put me off finishing the audio-book.

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