The Summer I Died

The Summer I Died - Ryan C. Thomas people have asked me - therapists, friends, even a biographer - how i felt that summer when i got home from college, before the bloodshed began. i tell them i was happy. they seem to think they can return me to that point. but, trust me, that person - the me from then - is dead.

to be honest, there's not very much to say about this book that won't just sound repetitive and/or stupid. this was a perfect horror book. it encompassed elements of mental, emotional, and physical torture without flinching or letting up, from the beginning until the very last sentence.

the first thing i appreciated about this book was that it started out with my very favorite cliche: two dudes who used to be in a bromance but are slowly falling out of that bromance trying desperately to rekindle their friendship with beer, guns, and storytelling, preferably in the middle of the woods/nowhere or with a trip to some foreign country they don’t know too much about. that’s the premise for quite a few good horror movies, because it’s a tested-and-true winner. in the beginning of the book, we're introduced to tooth, roger, and roger's little sister, jamie, and we're given a couple of chapters to settle in and get comfortable before the bloodshed starts.

once the bloodshed starts, it's ruthless. it's brutal. it's absolutely fucking gut-wrenchingly relentless. and i loved it. the things that happened in this book were gruesome, but they were undeniably creative. even though the "psychopath who lives in a cabin in the woods" trope is probably going stale for most people, i am not one of those people. i still love it. and even if it was getting stale for me, this book was different, this particular psychopath was different. there was something about him that was terrifying. maybe it was that he was unpredictable and volatile, but he seemed to think that he was being perfectly logical in the things that he was doing, that he had every right to do it. he seemed like the kind of man who would never leave you alone, someone that would chase you to the very ends of the earth if he felt like he needed to. he was a true monster, the sort that children are afraid of, the reason we're taught not to speak to strangers. he made my skin crawl. i loved him, too.

there was an unusual amount of realism here: the physical limitations of the characters, the deterioration of their mental states, the conclusion, but there was also a touch of the supernatural here, something suspiciously lucky about the way things played out for roger that had me raising my eyebrows and staying up to read it instead of sleeping, just so i could get some answers - which i did in [b:Born To Bleed: A Thriller|11163180|Born To Bleed A Thriller|Ryan C. Thomas||16087219], the action-thriller sequel.

if you're a fan of horror movies and/or horror books, and you're not squeamish about gore, torture, rape, or... basically any horrible, depraved thing one human being can do to another, this is definitely a book to pick up and read.