What Dies in Summer
A riveting Southern Gothic coming-of-age debut by major new talent.
“I did what I did, and that’s on me.” From that tantalizing first sentence, Tom Wright sweeps us up in a tale of lost innocence. Jim has a touch of the Sight. It’s nothing too spooky and generally useless, at least until the summer his cousin L.A. moves in with him and their grandmother. When Jim and L.A. discover the body of a girl, brutally raped and murdered in a field, an investigation begins that will put both their lives in danger. In the spirit of The Lovely Bones and The Little Friend, What Dies in Summer is a novel that casts its spell on the very first page and leaves an indelible mark.
people might make it sound like I was willing to throw everybody else to the wolves. I decided to stick to the main topic. But it wasn’t actual conversation I was here for, because I pretty well grasped that God didn’t speak to humans straight out, generally relying on methods like writing on stone and blasting cities to get his ideas across. Thinking in complete sentences seemed like the best bet: Sir, it’s about my dad, I thought as hard as I could. I mean, I know You took him for Your own
service, but all I could really think about was how things had worked out, and how I didn’t belong up here with Dee’s parents. I thought about losing Dee this way and about having no father of my own. I thought about how it must feel when your only son dies. Now Dee had stopped everything. Set it in stone. Now nothing could ever be repaired. “What’s it like to be an orphan?” he had once asked me. He is sitting in the swing next to me at the park looking off into the distance where a bunch of
“Now you’re all set,” he said. It felt weird at first, like carrying concealed weapons, but eventually I got used to it. I tried to adjust my thinking around the need to keep my billfold from falling into Gram’s or L.A.’s hands, which was going to be tricky because of the mysterious way their curiosity and powers of detection were always amplified by me having something to hide. But I was determined. For all I knew this was something else L.A. would punch me for if she found out, and I didn’t
now for L.A. to hear too. “I guess,” I said. “Some movies maybe,” said L.A., drifting our way. “Fact is, I know how to make movies myself. Done made a bunch of ’em.” I thought about this for a few seconds, beginning to show a little interest. “Tell you what,” said Earl. “I could put you two monkeys in a movie.” He pointed at us with two fingers. L.A. was listening to Earl now, seeming to shake off some of her attitude. “No way,” I said. “Damn straight,” said Earl. It occurred to me I had
said. “What do you think’s really out there?” “I don’t know. Everything, I guess.” “Maybe people like us?” “Not like you.” She considered this for a while, gazing at the sky. “All that space,” she finally said. “I bet there’s at least four.” I saw a sudden pinprick of new light among the stars that immediately grew into a greenish white fireball, elongating itself across the sky, brightening by the second. It flared and dimmed and flared again, leaving a glowing trail as it tracked straight