Saturday, June 1, 2019

Summer of Fear Week One: Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan

Happy First Saturday of Summer! I know it's not officially Summer but it's June 1st already and it sure feels like it.  I'm kick starting a relaunch of this blog with "Summer of Fear" a weekly series of posts where I will review/revisit a classic YA Horror/Thriller from the 70s-90s.  The serial takes its name from my first review in the series.

I recently, so recently that it was literally just an hour ago, finished reading "Summer of Fear" by Lois Duncan which was first published in 1976 and subsequently republished throughout the years. Duncan is also the author of "I Know What You Did Last Summer," which was adapted into a blockbuster horror film in the late 90s although many elements were changed for the film.  "Summer of Fear" was adapted into a TV movie in the 1978 starring Linda Blair and directed by Wes Craven who went onto to achieve horror legend status for directing “A Nightmare of Elm Street” and my personal favorite “Scream” among many others.  "Summer of Fear," the film is currently available on Amazon Prime and I hope to check it out and bring you a review soon.  If you've already seen it, please comment with your thoughts below.

Covers Throughout the Years (cat image is just a placeholder)
From the moment Rachel's cousin Julia arrives that summer, she seems to seep into Rachel's life like a poison. Everyone else is enchanted by her - including Rachel's boyfriend. But what does Julia really want? -

This book reads like a "Lifetime Movie" and just like a "Lifetime Movie," it was predictable but to me that is the fun of those movies and this book.  I love watching the heroine try to figure out how to outsmart the "big bad."  From the minute Rachel meets Julia, she senses something is not quite right with her and Duncan does a fantastic job of slowly building the creep factor from mild to intense.  One of the elements of the book is a little too odd though but perhaps the fact that it was from the late 70s dates the novel.  Rachel's brother, Pete develops a huge crush on Rachel and tries to date her - his first cousin.  Ummm OK?  Julia ends up rejecting him for someone else.  The lack of cell phones and the internet though keeps this mystery going and makes it a fast, fun throwback read.  This book is light on gore and the relationships kept modest but the creep factor is marked.

Have you read "Summer of Fear" by Lois Duncan? Share your thoughts below.

One note of caution, I initially started reading the most recent reprint of "Summer of Fear," and some changes to include modern technology were added and seemed out of place so I hunted down an older copy.  The copy I began to read is the one with the graphic red head on the bottom right as pictured above and the one I then read was the copy with the photo in the developer solution.  


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