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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

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on 24 March 2017
Simply fantastic!

Simmons has again proved why he is one of the best writers out there with Summer of Night.

I cannot fault this book at all, the length was perfect, there was a lot of detail, but not too much to make it unnecessary. But the best part was the characters.

I have compared Simmons to Stephen King regarding his character building. But after this, I have to say that Simmons is superior.

I mean, he takes six 11 year old boys and turns then into these fantastic characters that all have their own background and personality, and yet you can relate to each one of them.

Everything that they experience, you experience. It's as though you are the 7th character and you are trying to solve the mystery of Old Central. That's why I couldn't put this down. I had to know what happened next. Which is why this book deserves its praise as one of the best horror books out there.

If you want to read a horror story, look no further and pick this up. I can guarantee that it will give you both a scare, and a trip down memory lane to your Summer holiday.
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on 29 September 2010
Just finished this today & thought it deserved a review straight away. Really, really enjoyed it. From the back cover you could easily think it was a rip-off of Stephen King's It, but just because it is set in an American summer of 1960 & is centered around a group of 11 year old children, the similarity really ends there. There is no jumping to present time and focus on them as adults, it stays in 1960. You can really get a feel for the time through the author's writing, and also the setting of rural Illinois is really brought to life. The story starts with the kids all breaking up for summer holidays, and it all begins so well. But, when a class mate goes missing on the last day of term, and fails to show up days later, it is up to the Bike Patrol to start investigating. By the end of the summer, they will wish they never started. It all leads into a sinister tale of occult goings-on involving a mysterious bell brought over from Europe at the turn of the century and hidden in the school, and these children have to learn to quickly become adults as they are left alone in a world where none of their parents would ever believe them...
But, no need to worry, as these kids might only be 11 years old but they sure can kick ass and chew bubble-gum. Seriously, we could do with them on the streets over here to take out all the hoodies hanging around mugging and stabbing people. They wield shot-guns, blow buildings up, and tackle the undead all whilst drinking fizzy pop & reading Scrooge MacDuck comics!
This is another fantastic read from Dan Simmons, and a lot of the characters feature in future novels, so worth reading all of them aswell. 5 stars.
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on 30 July 1999
Dan Simmons is at it again - 'Summer of Night' is a great piece of horror fiction. It concerns a group of school-boys living in a small American town in the 1960's. During the summer vacation they uncover mystery & horror, an embark upon an adventure to rid the town of the evil that pervades it.
The book is extremely well-written, although readers of Stephen King's 'It' may see some similarities. This is a much better book however - it is about half the length of King's epic and much faster-paced.
Simmons' ability to build up the tension remains unbeatable - he is by far more masterful at this than King, Koontz, Herbert, or Hutson. There is a real sense of dread that makes your heart beat that little bit faster.
This is a truly creepy book, with moments of humour, sadness, nostalgia and horror. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! Buy it now!
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on 29 April 2013
It took me ages to get as far as I did but there came a point, roughly 300 pages in, when enough was enough (in fairness a few books I'd pre-ordered months before arrived, which rather prompted me giving it up). There's a very good story in here somewhere but I was more enjoying counting the Stephen King references than the actual tale, itself so heavily signposted at every turn that this was far from a page-turner. I have read almost all of Stephen King's stuff, most in my early twenties, so the author was up against it in a big way from page 1. The fact I'm now in my mid-forties probably didn't help a lot either.

Ultimately frustrating as, like I said, I think there's a good story in here.

Oh and one other thing, the font is very small throughout. Obviously dependent upon your age/strength of your eyes/power of your glasses, I'd advise getting this in Kindle rather than paperback. Well actually I wouldn't advise getting it at all...
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on 22 June 2009
An amazingly well written book that actually makes you care about the characters. Im a big fan of Stephen King and to my mind this Dan Simmons effort is as good if not better than a lot of early King novels. I have loaned this book time and time again to people and they are blown away by it. It is truly terrifying in places, and I don't scare easily. The First World War Soldier, in particular really scared me. Read this book and prepare to get so involved in the pacy, scary story, you'll probably not want to put it down.
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on 4 October 2014
I bought this book after finishing "A Winter Haunting" ignoring that books deficiencies because my interest had been piqued by references to the "rendering truck" and the events of the summer of 1960 - events so horrible/traumatic that the protagonist in the "Winter" novel couldn't remember them.
Well, after reading ALL 600+ pages I wish I could forget the experience as well.
This is a flabby, self-indulgent book. It needs a tighter plot and a better editor. There are reams and reams of pages of Norman Rockwell-esque late 50's early 60's Americana. This would be ok if it were done well and did nt bring the plot to frequent juddering stops and starts. Nor would the novel suffer quite so badly if these pieces of folksy, down home, small town America were in the author's own voice - but they are not.
Simmons is clearly aiming to write his own version of Stephen King's "It" - a novel with multiple discrepancies of it's own. Perhaps it is Simmons' homage?. King has given the author a literary equivalent of a sounbite - he is apparently "in awe" of Simmon's work. This is either flattery at work or clear evidence of softening of the brain.
Mr Simmons is not a bad writer or even a poor one but this is NOT HIS BOOK. The plot is his, the words are his but the SPIRIT of the work belong to King and because of this his novel fails. Worse - it bores.
Mr Simmons has written a fairly hefty amount and I think has won awards for his science fiction. On the evidence of this novel he should stick to that.
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on 20 October 2005
First time I came across Summer of Night was back in 1999. Since then I've read it three times! There is nothing I can say negative about this book. The characters are beautifully brought to life. Its spine tingling, scary, a good adrenaline rush, zillions of goosebumps! Above all, the chracters and the era based in provide sweet nostalgia, a walk down memory lane, innocent long lazy summers that puts a lump on your throat (especially if you're the creative and the imagnitive one back in the school days that had good friends and suspicious of the things lurking behind the staff room closed doors!!...and always getting up to mischiefs). Felt a pain of loss after the book finished....I'm in total awe of Dan Simmons!!! What can I say , you will love it. Highly highly recommended.
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on 14 July 2003
When I first read the synopsis of this novel I thought to myself not another one of those child horror novels because to my way of thinking you want horror you read Stephen King.....but after having read this novel I must admit it far surpassed my expectations and now I am an avid fan of Mr. Simmons.
It's about a group of kids who save their town from the evil of the borgia bell and all that comes with it. Unputdownable, I found myself reading it right through the early hours of the morning until I finished. It has got a really great plot and everything really comes together in the end of the nove.
Lots of laughs, adventure, terror a definite must for any horror fan.
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on 15 April 2004
When one of their classmates suddenly disappears into thin air, the lives of a group of twelve-year-old boys in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois are about to change dramatically.
During the summer holiday, Mike, Dale, Lawrence, Kevin, Jim Harlen and Duane set out investigating Tubby Cooke's mysterious disappearance and are plunged into an adventure they never bargained for.
Sure, the plot of the story has Stephen King written all over it. Still it is a very thrilling, well-written book, although I could not help wondering if the average eleven-year-old boy is as clever and daring as Mike and his friends are. I mean, would you drive your father's four-ton milk truck straight into your old school and shoot at your former principal with your grandma’s squirrel gun, even if he turns out to be an instrument of Evil?
The book's actual strength though is not its plot, but the way the principal characters are portrayed and the vivid descriptions of rural life in a small American town in the 1960's. The book almost reads like a film. You can easily picture yourself riding your bike along with the boys, hiding in one of their secret Camps or playing ball in the park.
Not that many writers share Simmons' rare talent for character portrayal, especially in the field of horror and SF.
If you are curious to know what became of some of the heroes in "Summer of Night" you might like to read "Children of the Night" (Mike O'Rourke) and "A Winter Haunting" (Dale Stewart).
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on 8 June 2015
Some reviewers here reveal their self identifying anti - American views as if These were NOT BIGOTED...sad for them ..Themselves being limited doesn't quite occur to the reviewers..Poor THEM. But if one can skip thru (skim) the boring 'kids playing' sections..(In the book) one can enjoy the horror novel part of this book! It's a novel of horror and presents a kind of reality based kid viewpoint....With no bulls***, no idealistic settings :)
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