Published by Indigo on 01 August 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, GLBT, Mystery & Detective, New Adult, Survival Stories, Suspense, Young Adult
Place(s) Traveled To: Zahara de los Atunes, Spain // Telscombe Cliffs, England
First Line(s): Against the whit cliffs, the girl in the red dress was as vivid as a drop of blood.
I first heard about Cruel Summer by James Dawson when I was popping around some book blogs and landed on one for a UK blogger. The premise seemed interesting and since I needed to import another book from the UK I decided to add this one to my cart. The story is told from a couple different points of view following a group of friends who have all spent the last year at university. They haven’t spoken much since the suicide of another in their group the year before but think that a break in Spain for a week might be just the thing to put old ghosts to rest. Only instead of a relaxing week at the beach Ryan and his friends learn that Janey might have been murdered and that one of their group my have done it.
I love a good murder mystery and Cruel Summer seemed to have all the right elements to make up a fun plot. Only for me, this one was a little slow to start. It took a bit to get into the story and Ryan’s insistence on thinking of everything as if it were a tv show just annoyed me. His POV tended to take me out of the story as I just found him to be so self centered. And as it was Ryan who narrated the bulk of the story it really bogged things down. Ryan wasn’t a bad character he just didn’t interest me as much as some of the others.
The overall plot, wasn’t too hard to figure out, at least not for me, but there where enough twists and turns to keep me entertained until the big reveal. I liked this group of friends and I liked that Dawson showed them struggling to reclaim their closeness after a long year apart. It felt real as did all the struggles each of the characters were going through. Although I’m not sure if I bought the killer’s motivation but you really can’t argue when that person was clearly just a tad bit off their rocker.
Dawson writes real and complex people and I like how his characters were all flawed in some way. Cruel Summer did start off a bit slow for me, as I said above, but once you get into the thick of things it does pick up in pace. Just as the body count starts to rise and those that make it to the end may not be who think would. Cruel Summer was well written and while it wasn’t a solid head over heels love fest for me I did enjoy James Dawson’s writing enough that I will probably import some of his other books at some point in the future.