A long hot summer casts long dark shadows. And dark shadows hide pitch black secrets.
And there are plenty of shadows cast over Biscuit, a teenage boy who lives with his grandmother. His father is dead and his mother is shacked up with a violent thug. And then his cousin arrives in a state of distress, not saying why she has run away from home.
As the sweltering, hazy summer stretches out to snapping point, we find out more about Biscuit, L.A. and their fragile adolescent world. And the secrets that have been pushed into the darkness are jolted into the glare of light when they discover the body of a murdered teenage girl.
And what dies in the summer is, of course, innocence.
Tom Wright‘s marvellous What Dies In Summer is a leisurely paced, beautifully, lyrically written and moving coming-of-age novel, cleverly told from Biscuits oblique perspective. Wright uses this warm palate to paint a darkly rich tale of magic-realism with echoes of Laughton’s take on Night Of the Hunter and Donna Tartt’s The Little Secret.