Judith D Collins
The Summer House
By: Keri Beevis
Narrator: Shakira Shute
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 03/06/3023
My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)
All NEW from bestselling psychological thriller writer Keri Beevis.
Mead House was once our childhood home.
Despite my fears, I always knew we would have to return to face the demons of our past.
Back to the place where it happened, to where, as carefree teenagers, we lost our elder sister in the most brutal of circumstances.
As executors of our grandmother’s will, my twin brother, Ollie, and I needed to empty the house for resale.
What I didn’t expect to discover was my sister’s secret journal that contained her most private thoughts and shocking dark secrets.
Now I am questioning everything that I saw that night. Did I get it wrong, who I saw?
Did my evidence send an innocent man, my then boyfriend's brother, to jail for the last 17 years?
I know I have no choice. If I want to find answers, I will have to go back to that fateful night my sister died. When she made her last visit to the summer house.
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Keri Beevis returns following The Sleepover with her latest multi-layered suspense thriller, THE SUMMER HOUSE—a twin sister and brother return to their grandmother's home after her death, and the dark secrets of the past unravel.
As the book opens, it is 2005, and we are privy to some dangerous games. Someone by the initial "G" has written instructions for Camille. She is promiscuous with flaming red hair. The opposite of her sister.
The letter had instructions about what to wear/and not to wear—to meet at THE SUMMER HOUSE, a private part of the garden far from the main house (The Mead House). This was not romance but addiction and obsession. Who is this lover? Or is there something more sinister at play luring her here? Motive?
There is a chair, a blindfold, a red scarf, a heart pendant with a ribbon, and another note. She fears they are going to cross the line. Realization follows; she is strangled and murdered. Her former boyfriend, Sebastian, is charged and in prison.
Flash forward to the present day; Lana Hamilton is returning to Mead House following the recent death of her grandmother, Nana Kitty. She and her twin brother, Ollie, are charged with cleaning the house and putting it on the market for sale. The three had lived with their grandmother after their mother died of cancer.
It was seventeen years since their sister Camille's murder. She was only nineteen, and the twins were two years younger.
Ollie: twin (London) former best friend of Xav.
Camille: older sister murdered
Nana Kitty: Grandmother of the three and owner of Mead House and The Summer House - Dead (from a fall. Accidental or pushed)?
Xav: former boyfriend of Lana. Artist.
Sebastian: brother of Xav.
Charged with the murder of Camille.
Former boyfriend. In prison.
Lana's testimony put him away.
Supporting characters: All horrible
Elise: fiancee of Ollie
George Maddox: caretaker/gardener
Barney: George's uncle
Derek: George's older stepbrother
Bree: lesbian. Mechanic.
Friend of Sebastian & Xav
Trudy: daughter. Art gallery owner. Dispised her.
Doc Palmer: Agnus: father to Trudy.
Former doctor. Retired. Stroke/dementia. Disgusting man.
During cleanup, Lana discovers some disturbing journals of her sister, leading her to suspect Sebastian was not the murderer.
Next is a series of menacing events—someone knows she is getting too close to learning the truth of that night. The journals are now missing, she gets hit by a car and then drugged and put in her trunk for dead.
Her former boyfriend, Xav, comes to her rescue. No Hamilton is safe with a killer on the loose determined to take down this family in a race against time. Everyone is collateral damage.
While I enjoy Keri Beevis' books and am a big fan, THE SUMMER HOUSE was not my favorite. Yes, there were a lot of twists and red herrings—however, due to the number of characters (way too many), there was not enough overall character development, too much evil and bad things, and not enough balance with the good. I did not care for any of the characters. NO humor.
I understand the author needed the characters for red herrings and was especially creative with the "G" initials to throw you off.
The setup was clever.
The first part pulled me in.
The middle seemed to drag and drag.
The last part was more action-filled for the showdown.
However, the main concern was you need to "suspend your disbelief for the sake of enjoyment."
When the killer is revealed, no way - if you go back to the original event. Also, I did not connect with ANY of the characters. I was not invested in any of them.
They were mainly evil, narcissistic, delusional sociopaths: selfish, with envy, jealousy, greed, and classism. Revenge, obsession, blackmail. Some were disgusting and the actions were over the top bordering on horror.
The only two somewhat likable were Lana and Xav, who were more concerned over Lana's safety and hardly ever talked about getting Sebastian out of prison and the damage to his life. So again a disconnect here.
However, I am looking forward to her next book!
Thank you to #BoldwoodBooks and #NetGalley for a gifted ARC in exchange for an honest review.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pub Date: March 6, 2023
About the Author
Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell and Deep Dark Secrets.
Her other books include the Rebecca Angell Series: M for Murder and D for Dead, Trust No One, Every Little Breath, The People Next Door, With Friends Like These and most recently, The Sleepover.
She wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years before she was published after winning a contract in the New Novels Competition 2012.
Born in the village of Old Catton, less than a mile from where Anna Sewell was living when she wrote Black Beauty, Keri had a passion for reading and writing from a young age, though her tastes veered more to the macabre.
Today she still lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel), where she writes a comedic lifestyle column for the Iceni Magazine. She loves Hitchcock movies, exploring creepy places, and gets extremely competitive in local pub quizzes. She is also a self-confessed klutz.
In 2019, Keri was signed by Bloodhound Books and her first release with them, the psychological thriller, Dying To Tell, which is set in her beautiful home county of Norfolk, went on to be a huge bestseller, hitting the top 25 in the UK and the no. 1 spot in Australia. Her second book, Deep Dark Secrets was also a top 100 Amazon bestseller. WEBSITE