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Summer of Night

Written by: Dan Simmons
Narrated by: Dan John Miller
Length: 22 hrs and 2 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic childhood. But amid the sun-drenched cornfields, their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Strange and horrifying events begin to overtake everyday life, spreading terror through the once-peaceful town. Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood against an arcane abomination who owns the night....

©2011 Dan Simmons (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Impressive...combines beautiful writing and suspense into a book for which Dan Simmons deserves the bestseller status of King and Koontz.” ( The Denver Post)
“One can only wonder what Simmons will do next, now that he’s shown us he can do everything the best writers in horror and science fiction can do.” ( The Philadelphia Inquirer)
“It stands with the best of King and Straub in the traditional modern horror genre.” ( Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

What members say

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  • Overall
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  • Raph
  • 28-11-17

Decent story slightly let down a bit by narration.

Good cast of characters, heart warming and nostalgic. Horror elements are well done but not pulse pounding but that’s mainly due to the narration.

The narrator has a pleasant voice and is good on the ear but at times when there’s peril and danger and some urgency needed it just sounds like he’s describing a whimsical scene from The Wonder Years. That laid back quality neutered the horror, excitement and tension in places.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gustav
  • 19-08-12

Spellbinding horror in a sleepy town

Remember all those movies that came out when we were kids, about other kids getting into trouble and solving smuggling mysteries or uncovering old buried treasure all the while their parents had no idea and just wanted them back for dinner on time? This is that movie, cranked up to max! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • sarahmoose2000
  • 22-08-11

Stand By Me with zombies

The school holidays are just starting and the boys are delighted that the school is being demolished. Days of bike riding and baseball are interrupted when a school child goes missing and the boys take it upon themselves to police their town. Their sleuthing puts them in danger, but it's not a physical threat, something otherworldly is going on..... does the recently closed down school house more than desks and blackboards?

4 people found this helpful

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  • mr a thomson
  • 27-08-18

A classic coming of age horror/ adventure!

I am a big fan of this type of horror novel, where a group of kids fight monsters that threaten a town. This is a great listen and I was addicted from chapter one! Just like Stephen King's IT, it is nostalgic and reminds us of times past. loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Freda
  • 12-12-19

A good coming of age horror story

I have read this book several times and I am not disappointed with the audible version. Five 12yr old boys and one girl got together for their Summer holidays after their old school closed down for good. It takes place in the 1960s in a small town called Elm Haven. They expected to spend their summer riding their bikes and spending time in the clubhouse they had build in the woods. Something is happening only the children realize. Holes appear in the ground. Dead people are spotted walking around. People go missing. It's up to them to investigate. It's all down to an old cursed bell which still hangs in the old school. Can this group of children risk their own lives to save the town. Good narration and holds the listener to the end.

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  • Klaus
  • 08-04-19

One of then best coming of age horrors ever

Easily as good ad (or better than) "It", Simmons works on so many levels all at once: coming of age, loss of innocence, true horror, intermixed with a very intellectual, observing and yet never condecending narrative that is easy to read.

I read "Summer of Night" some 20 years ago and recently discovered "A Winter Haunting" on Audible. But I soon realized I would enjoy it more if I reread Summer. That was a credit well spent and I will bow return to Winter.

I recommend this book to any horror fan.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-02-19

Loved it from the first word

Great characters and story. Like Stephen King but more to the point without losing any of the suspense or intrigue. Would especially highly recommend to anyone with childhood memories of plotting and adventuring with friends on long summer days

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  • Paul
  • 15-01-19

Chilling

Really liked this story very chilling reminded me of IT and that's not a bad thing

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  • Benjamin M. Smith
  • 29-12-18

A Winter of Listening

This novel/ audiobook is a fantastic read, if you take it for what it is and do not mind a lot of unnecessary information. I have huge respect for Simmons, but some editing here would not have gone amiss.

The threat(s) is/are interesting and fairly unique, however I kept being pulled into the mindset that this seems very similar to Stephen Kings It. Whilst this novel does mange to carve out its own space, with some interesting characters and a genuinely spooky atmosphere (at times), its pacing feels slightly off to me. Nonetheless - 4 stars for story!

The performance is a gripe for me. Having an adult attempt to do individual voices for the 5 kids grated on me about a quarter of the way through this audiobook. If possible, a dramatization featuring the voices of kids would be so much more believable.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-09-18

A nail biting adventure.

Great narration. The story was very descriptive, with many tense and nail biting moments. Took me back to a simpler life, full of imagination and escapism. Loved it.

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  • Brian M
  • 18-12-17

Riffing on King's IT - Not Original But Good

Any additional comments?

Dan Simmons obviously has a thing for King's sepia coloured view of small-town America in the 1960s. A place where all is good and wholesome and right. At least until the evil rises and bad things happen to good people. If you've read King's IT you'll know where this story is going early on. As in a very real sense, this is an IT 'rip-off'. Which is a good thing and a bad thing, depending on your point of view. I guess what I'm saying is, this isn't the most original thing you're ever going to read. But don't be put off by that. Dan Simmons is a good writer, and the characters in this are well drawn. And I'd have no problem reading another Dan Simmons book somewhere down the line.Dan John Miller's read was solid. Not enough variation on individual character voices, etc for my liking. But again, it was nothing that put me off finishing the audio-book.

1 person found this helpful