The Summer I Died by Ryan C. Thomas
Review by Morgan K. Tanner
This is exactly what happened with The Summer I Died. I just had to check it out!
I certainly wasn’t disappointed, although I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was in need of counselling or required a long shower after reading. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this book. In fact, I loved it.
Roger and Tooth, two young dudes who’ve been friends for years, decide to head into the woods to drink some beer, smoke some weed, and shoot some guns. But when they hear the desperate cries of a woman and go to investigate, things turn to shit. And fast.
They should have minded their own business!
The two become captives at the hands of a psychotic torturer. Chained in his basement the friends are subjected to acts of sordid depravity where pain and suffering are the orders of the day. Skinny Man, their captor, rolls dice to decide which of his subjects will face which various act of horrific torture.
He even drives to Roger’s house and kidnaps his sister, after seeing his address in Roger’s wallet. This man is one evil and deranged bastard.
But this book isn’t just one long torture scene. The characterisation is expertly handled, making the situation even more real and causing the empathy to resonate loudly. We’re treated to brief backstories of the pair’s shenanigans, and snapshots of Roger’s family life, and these only heighten the terrors as he stares a particularly painful death in the face.
Brutal, unimaginable torture is described in minute and horrifying detail resulting in many toes being curled. Tooth is one unlucky dude, I can tell you.
There is a sequel to this book, and as this one is called The Roger Huntingdon Saga Book 1, it’s not a spoiler to say that Roger escapes. But does he really ‘escape’? Can anyone truly escape the memories and physical scars of this kind of abuse?
The action builds to a dramatic conclusion, and the violence and gore is wince-inducing. To craft a story as horrific as this and still make room for well-rounded characters that you actually care about is a great skill, and is carried out here with aplomb.
This isn’t for those with a weak stomach, or lovers of happy endings. But the gore-loving horror fan should really add this blood-and-sinew-stained gem to their collection.
Check it out!
About Morgan K. Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
His debut novella, An Army of Skin is available now.