James Patterson with Brendan DuBois | June 2020 | 432 pp
Years ago, I used to LOVE James Patterson. In my twenties, I tore through his murderous thrillers and even some of his young adult fantasy stuff like he would stop publishing a book a quarter any minute and I would be lost! 🙄😅 Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve tried and failed several times to read his books. I have no idea what has happened. I’m not sure if he’s changed or I have! I’ve noticed he writes with a lot of different partners now, in my opinion, not with great success. So, I was super skeptical when the audio version of The Summer House fell into my hands from my local library late last October. But, tah-dah…it was a huge hit with me!
If Im listening to a book, its likely because I have some chores to power through and I want some cool characters to keep me company while I work. I started this on Halloween weekend and listened to it while I was assembling my ‘candy shooter’ on my porch steps! We typically have a ton of kids visit our neighborhood in pretty elaborate costumes and its a good time had by all…I wasn’t missing giving out candy. If the internet had found a way to do it safely, I was going to give it a go! And so we did!
The book was company well kept while rigging that thing. The book starts with several bangs and doesn’t let up the entire span of the book. Definitely more like the Patterson I remember from my youth. As the book opens we are introduced to the ‘Summer House’, an old southern mansion in Sullivan, Ga that was once a vacation home to celebrities. Its since fell into disrepair and is home to a raggedy family of folks going no where, fast. Initially, we are following big sister driving in from Atlanta to hopefully pick up her niece and save her from the flop house chaos. Meanwhile, police get called to the scene to find 7 dead bodies. All the evidence points in the direction of a team of elite soldiers just released to the states and easily captured after the murders. But, savvy detective Major Cook doesn’t believe they did it. Cook’s looking closely at the evidence and is willing to travel to the ends of the earth to find the truth. No one likes the sound of that, including his superiors, the small towns sheriff and local DA.
Pro: I enjoyed the fast-pace of the story. The trick of allowing us to get to know, and even like, the victims before the murders? Coldblooded Patterson! But, the technique worked. I was hooked, and no matter the obstacle thrown in Cooks way, (and there were many!) I wanted him to overcome and catch the real murderers. I wanted to be 100% sure, right alongside him!
Cons: There are a lot of characters here. Typically for an audiobook, I like for the story to be simple with few characters because you don’t have the ease in skipping back to remember who folks are or writing notes or marking pages. If you go into it thinking everyone is bad, you will likely end up in the right spot though. Lol.
For sure, if read in a traditional manner, this would have been a one sitting read for me. I’m almost positive it would be for most folks. Quick trigger warning: Talk of PTSD from military experiences, murder of a young child. Don’t let that stop you! Book #59
If you liked this book, try these:
When seven murder victims are found in a small town, the homicide investigation shakes a small-town sheriff to her core in James Patterson’s tense thriller.
Once a luxurious southern getaway on a rustic lake, then reduced to a dilapidated crash pad, the Summer House is now the grisly scene of a nighttime mass murder. Eyewitnesses point to four Army Rangers — known as the Night Ninjas — recently returned from Afghanistan.
To ensure that justice is done, the Army sends Major Jeremiah Cook, a veteran and former NYPD cop, to investigate. But the major and his elite team arrive in sweltering Georgia with no idea their grim jobs will be made exponentially more challenging by local law enforcement, who resists the Army’s intrusion and stonewall them at every turn.
As Cook and his squad struggle to uncover the truth behind the condemning evidence, the pieces just won’t fit — and forces are rallying to make certain damning secrets die alongside the victims in the murder house. With his own people in the cross-hairs, Cook takes a desperate gamble to find answers — even if it means returning to a hell of his own worst nightmares . . .