The Summer I Died

The Summer I Died - Ryan C. Thomas Torture Porn. An ugly term for a pretty ugly sub-genre. I’m not a huge fan, generally - probably because, for the most part, there’s almost zero emotional attachment to the characters involved. It’s all about the shock-value and gratuitous titillation that comes from experiencing the extremes of violence and depravity.

Is it even horror? It’s horrifying, certainly - but scary? It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

I don’t want to discuss the events that unfold in this book too closely (because that would make me a big old baldy-beardy spoiler-pants, and who wants to be one of those?), so I’ll keep this brief and on-point:

The Summer I Died is Torture Porn, but does a really great job of starting slowly and introducing us to the characters in a considered and realistic manner - which makes all the difference when things finally start to go horribly, horribly wrong.

This kind of story can easily come across as amateurish and laughable if the writer isn’t up to the task. I was actually surprised by how well Ryan C. Thomas pulled this off. I found it pretty tense in places, I really did, and forgot all about my cup of tea until it was cold. This does not happen often!

Sadly, the author gets a little too preachy towards the end for my liking, which killed it a bit for me, as well as adding a totally unnecessary surprise element that detracted from the sense of realism he spent so long building up. I do feel that this kind of tale requires realism to fully thrive, because, let’s face it, people have the potential to be the most terrifying monsters of all.

Still, if you're up for reading something that feels like being whacked over the head with a lump hammer repeatedly - erm, in a good way? - then I'd definitely suggest giving this one a go.