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Killer Summer - Review

The thriller novel is most susceptible to the hyperbolic pull quote. As a reader I generally react pretty poorly to things like 'The action never lets up!' Because the minute the action does let up not only does the person blurbing the book sound ridiculous, but the book lets me down.

KILLER SUMMER by Ridley Pearson is just one of those thrillers. A book that starts fast and is never meant to let up. But this is not possible as ever increasing intensity always leads to ever increasing amounts of unbelievability. What can be appreciated about Mr. Pearson's book is the length to which he seems to go to protect the stories credibility. Let's face it, on the surface most thrillers strain credulity from page one, but it is what happens inside the heightened air of the suspense thriller that can pull a reader into or out of the story. There is escapist entertainment and brain dead stupidity. Mr. Pearson never allows KILLER SUMMER to fall into the later category.

The plot, in broad strokes, concerns a group of thieves who are out to heist something during a charity wine auction in Sunnyvale, Idaho. Sheriff Walt Fleeming returns in the third book in this series, and not surprisingly it turns personal very quickly. Mr. Pearson writing displays his obvious talents for action set piece. A plane crash and a river rapids rescue are all rendered quite vividly for the reader. On the character level there is a lot to sink your teeth into. I think the various Father-Son engagements and entanglements are well done without being sappy, preachy or moralizing.

What doesn't work so well here are the rather flat villains that confront Walt in his struggle to set the world right. We are provided with the barest of details about their personal character and combined with their deeds are meant to see them as worthy opponents to Sheriff Flemming. But this never really comes off as well as it should. The success of any thriller generally lies in the readers secret desire to see them succeed over our hero.

This, however, does not diminish the book too greatly as KILLER SUMMER more than fulfilled this readers expectations of a suspense thriller that scratches more than just the surface of entertainment.


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