Book Reviews Fiction Horror

THE SUMMER I DIED by Ryan C. Thomas

The cult slasher novel is back in this all new edition which features the original text as it was meant to be published! Dubbed one of “The Most Intense Horror Novels” ever written by many horror review sites, The Summer I Died is the first book in the Roger Huntington saga.

When Roger Huntington comes home from college for the summer and is met by his best friend, Tooth, he knows they’re going to have a good time. A summer full of beer, comic books, movies, laughs, and maybe even girls. The sun is high and the sky is clear as Roger and Tooth set out to shoot beer cans at Bobcat Mountain. Just two friends catching up on lost time, two friends thinking about their futures. . . two friends suddenly thrust into the middle of a nightmare. Forced to fight for their life against a sadistic killer with an arsenal of razor sharp blades and a hungry dog by his side. If they are to survive, they must decide: are heroes born, or are they made? Or is something more powerful happening to them? And more importantly, how do you survive when all roads lead to death?

The description sets this one up pretty well, and there isn’t a whole lot I can get into without spoiling the story. I’ll touch on what I can, but be warned…
Roger is home from college, spending time with his life-long best friend, Tooth, and both of their families. We bond with the characters without it feeling too padded or fluffed up. We get to read about a couple events that helped shape them, and their friendship, into what it is today. I think that bond is important, because without feeling how close they are – some things wouldn’t be *quite* as disturbing.
Their lives are beginning to go in different directions, so this is an important time for them. We’ve all had friendships deteriorate, slowly dwindle away until the person becomes just another unused entry in your cell phone. This is the summer that separates those two phases of friendship.
They head up to their ‘spot’ on Bobcat Mountain, the place where so many important childhood memories were made, to hang out, chill, and do some target shooting with Tooth’s guns. They hear what sounds like a woman screaming. They try to attribute the screams to anything else – anything other than what it is, it IS Bobcat Mountain! The screams form into ‘helpmehelpmehelpme‘, but from their vantage point, it is almost impossible to tell where the screams are coming from. Tooth wants to go search for the source, but Roger is hesitant. After some convincing, Roger relents, Tooth re-loads his gun, and they head off on foot. They hike further and further away from their car in search of the noises origin, until they finally see a house in the distance. What they find is something worse than they’ve ever imagined, even they’re late-night horror movie marathons couldn’t have prepared them for this!

I think I’ve ended that sufficiently, piqued your interest enough to have to read this story. DON’T RUIN IT!

**********SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!!**********
The first thing they see are the Rottweilers, random holes dug in the yard, and bloody paw prints on the back storm door. As they’re contemplating those prints, two people come busting out, a naked, bloody, and gagged woman followed closely by a mad-man with an axe, running straight towards them.
Roger and Tooth end up chained in the basement, with the body of the (almost dead) woman on the floor near their feet. The man with the axe, well, to be fair… the ax is now in the woman’s skull, so… The man that has them captive proceeds to torture the boys in such graphic & horrific detail, down to the smells, that you feel like you’re in that basement with them.
The depravity shown in this book is kept from being mere ‘torture porn’ by the characters. The pain they feel from seeing what happens to each-other is almost as bad as the pain inflicted on them. The game that the man plays as he’s choosing who to hurt, and how to do it, is maddening. A pair of dice that was taken from Rogers pocket is what chooses the recipient of each round of torment. A game of chance. If you were in that situation… what would you hope for? ‘Please don’t hurt me anymore’ is essentially wishing that your best friend gets hurt.
Now, when you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse for these two, the author throws a twist in that takes things to a whole new level. It goes from a level of physical violence that is hard to handle, to a level of mental torture that tries to split your mind in half. The switch from witnessing the torture to having to imagine what is happening in the next room – just by listening to the tools & screams of someone you love – is painful. The author describes things in such excruciating detail, you’ll remember this story forever. Even though I’ve warned of spoilers, I’m not giving away the end.

BORN TO BLEED – The Sequel

Born to Bleed is the exciting sequel to the cult classic, The Summer I Died! It’s been ten years since Roger Huntington suffered through the bloody events in Skinny Man’s basement. Ten years since the game of chance, the dismemberment, the torture, and the grisly deaths. Roger has moved to California where he now works as a painter and pines after his co-worker, Victoria. It’s a seemingly bland life, which is how he likes it. But just as he can’t forget his past, he is about to discover that his future may hold far more terrifying events than anything he could possibly imagine.

The official home page of Ryan C. Thomas
Visit his Amazon author page

If I don’t get BORN TO BLEED soon, I have SCRAPS AND CHUM queued up and ready to read, so watch for my discussions on both!!
P, L, & N