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Summer People by Aaron Stander

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

Summer People by Aaron StanderI don’t normally read a lot of books where I feel like giving up half way through, but I must just be hitting a patch of not so great books because this is another one I had trouble picking up again.  I usually like mysteries because they have an uncanny ability to make you want to keep reading and find out what happens next.  This is probably one of the only mysteries I’ve ever read that had almost no suspense whatsoever.  I didn’t want to pick it back up because I knew a whole lot of nothing would be what happened next…I’m hoping the next book on my list will be a little faster paced.  We’ll see how it goes…

When I started reading “Summer People” I expected a much different kind of murder mystery than the one I found myself reading.  I guess I expected a little more drama and a little more flash, overall just a lot more excitement.  The book starts off on a fast paced pitch, but slows down almost instantly. The first chapter had me hooked, but around chapter 25 I was starting to wonder just how much more I had left to read.  The characters are actually written very well.  I love Sheriff Ray and think he makes a good detective, if a little stereotypical.  There is enough personality there to make him seem like a real person and I truly cared about whether or not he solved the crime.  There are a few other characters who stick out just as well, but there aren’t many.

Stander shows a lot of potential here, but I think he bit off a little more than he could chew with the plot.  It is difficult for any mystery writer to connect multiple murders together in a plausible way and then create a murder with sufficient motive and intelligence to pull it off.  While the murders were all done fairly well, the way they were tied together was flimsy at best.  The one and only subject with motive seems to have just been thrown in at the last minute and there is no suspense, no build up, leaving the end anti-climactic. I love mysteries that make me think “wow, didn’t see that coming” at the end, sadly this one just made me shrug.  Aside from a flimsy plot the book is actually written fairly well.  Stander has an interesting voice and his descriptions of location were very well done. I think he is capable of crafting a suspenseful case, there was just something about this book that fell flat.  For such a short book there was just too much going on, too many minor plot threads, for them to all be pulled together to create a stellar conclusion.  This book is a quick read and it is a decent introduction to Stander’s writing style (if not his ability to craft a plot) and as it is the cheapest of his four books it might be worth downloading if you want to dig into Stander as an author.  If you’re just looking for a fast-paced, suspenseful mystery this is probably not the book for you.

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