Read Summer of Night by Dan Simmons Online


It's the summer of 1960 in Elm Haven, Illinois, and five 12-year old boys are forming the bonds that a lifetime of changes will never erase. But then a dark cloud threatens the bright promise of summer vacation: on the last day of school, their classmate Tubby Cooke vanishes. Soon, the group discovers stories of other children who once disappeared from Elm Haven. And thereIt's the summer of 1960 in Elm Haven, Illinois, and five 12-year old boys are forming the bonds that a lifetime of changes will never erase. But then a dark cloud threatens the bright promise of summer vacation: on the last day of school, their classmate Tubby Cooke vanishes. Soon, the group discovers stories of other children who once disappeared from Elm Haven. And there are other strange things happening in town: unexplained holes in the ground, a stranger dressed as a World War I soldier, and a rendering-plant truck that seems to be following the five boys. The friends realize that there is a terrible evil lurking in Elm Haven...and they must be the ones to stop it....

Title : Summer of Night
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399135736
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 555 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Summer of Night Reviews

  • Pouting Always
    2018-12-03 01:30

    Honestly most horror or suspense books feel lacking because it's hard to build a plot that keeps someone interested without giving everything away while balancing that with interesting characters and a unique plot line but some how this manages to do that. I honestly haven't read anything else like this but I don't really read that extensive an amount of horror so take that with a grain of salt. I really appreciate how well the ending was written too because honestly the only other writer I've read who writes this kind of genre is Stephen King and sometimes his endings are just flat and he's really good at building stories not so good at finishing them off. Anyway I really enjoyed this one, especially all the characters, they were likable and had me rooting for them.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2018-11-27 21:29

    What all happens during the summer of night? . . . . . . it's not prettyOld Central School still stood upright, holding its secrets and silences firmly within. Eighty-four years of chalkdust floated in the rare shafts of sunlight inside while the memories of more than eight decades of varnishings rose from the dark stairs and floors to tinge the trapped air with the mahogany scent of coffins. the walls of Old Central were so thick that they seemed to absorb sounds while the tall windows, their glass warped and distorted by age and gravity, tinted the air with a sepia tiredness. Time moved slowly at Old Central, if at all. Footsteps echoed along corridors and up stairwells, but the sound seemed muted and out of synch with any motion amidst the shadows.That school was creepy as all get out. A three story school of creepiness and what secrets are in the basement and other parts of the school. The gang was Dale, Mike, Duane, Harlen, Kevin, Lawrence (little brother to Dale) and sometimes Cordie. The story starts out when they are waiting to leave the school for summer break and they were never going to come back again as they were going to go to a newer school. And a death occurs pretty much right out of the gate. That's all I'm sayin'.This is a coming of age story with a creeptastic twist! I loved all of the kids, some of the side characters and the town where everything took place. I loved the setting Dan Simmons wrote for this book. The book talks about each of the children in the book so we know all of their stories. There are parents, neighbors, priests, school teachers, ghosts, evil beings and so forth and so on. And yes, there are deaths. =(There is this creepy Rendering Truck that follows the boys from time to time. They think it is someone associated with the school but they can never see them. They only smell the stink of the dead animals it picks up. I can see all of the scenes in my mind. The story is set in 1960 and you really need to read it if you have been planning on it. I love old school books where you feel like your a part of things past. Of course, I wouldn't want to go to this town!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Just wait until you get to all of the creepy stuff =)MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

  • Nick
    2018-11-30 00:35

    The thing that impressed me about this book was not so much Simmons' ability to scare, but to build characters and the world they live in. Simmons draws a map of this small town in your head so well that the reader can see everything that happens vividly. I read other reviews criticizing the time the story takes to develop, but I feel that this is one of the strengths. It is a couple hundred pages in before something scary actually happens. By this time, the reader is anticipating these events, which is almost worse. The story sounds intensely cliche with young boys in a small town battling a larger evil, but I can assure you that Summer of Night is written so well and is so readable that you won't care. This is one of the best books I've read, let alone in the genre of horror. I can't recommend this one enough, but make sure to read it in the summer to get the full effect.

  • Kristen
    2018-12-02 21:27

    I know many will call it blasphemy, but this book put Simmons ahead of King in my mental list of great horror authors. "Summer of Night" is closest in story to "It" only without the haphazard ending (and 400 pages shorter). When you pick this book up at the store, you will notice that it is a thin book, and make the same assumption that I did, which was that I was about to read a 200-300 page story. About 100 pages in, it dawned on me that there was still a long way to go, flipping to the back I discovered that the "light read" I had picked out was actually 600 pages exactly, written on what appears to be rice paper it is so thin, and every page is about to crawl over the margins (if you can call typing to the end of the paper a margin). There is no wasted space in this book either; chapters begin on the same page as the last chapter ended, with only a few returns in between and a chapter heading. Prepare yourself for a lot of reading... now the good news... every page is wonderful. I compare this book to "It" in the sense that it is about a group of young children, most of which are 10-11 but there is a younger brother at the age of 8. These boys (and girl when she shows up) are the only ones who know that something is terribly wrong in their little home town. The setting is a very rural small town surrounded by cornfields... it takes place in 1960. The boys are all instantly likeable and are very real. I listen to the descriptions of Lawrence, the little brother, and he is my youngest son to a "T." Each of the boys is different, has different living situations, and none of them are some sort of magical superman who wrestles monsters with superhuman ability. The tale is patient and brooding, slowly building to a terrifying crescendo; starting with the disappearance of a child on the last day of school, followed by sounds under the beds, faces peering in windows, and growing with ferocity from there. As you read your stomach will churn and your heart will race as you pray for the survival of the children. How can they stand against these dark forces? I read all 600 pages in 2 nights, hating to give it up on the first night, but work forced me to have to sleep. Odds are that you will want to read all 600 pages in one sitting, it's that hard to put down... you will find yourself worried about those little boys all day until you are able to finish the book. I highly recommend it for anyone who was afraid of the basement, the creatures under the bed, walking through cemeteries, the bathrooms in the basement of dark and ancient buildings, or of the faces in your windows at night.

  • Ctgt
    2018-11-14 01:42

    Loved this book! It goes right to the top with Boy's Life, Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Body as one of my favorite small town, coming of age books. If you like any of those books you should enjoy this story. A group of friends band together to battle a supernatural menace and in the process take me back to my days of adolescence. I have struggled with some of Simmons's work in the past and even though this was just over 600 pages I never felt like it bogged down. There were a couple of scenes that seemed a bit far fetched but that's what these supernatural tales are all about, fighting back against seemingly impossible odds.Medicine smell? Mike thought it was a medicine smell if you made medicine out of dead and rotting bodies. It was a medicine smell if you counted the coppery scent of blood and the stench of week-old decay as medicinal.10/10

  • Maciek
    2018-12-05 17:38

    Summer Of Night is a bloated book (I have a 500 page hardcover) that could really, really use some good editing. Dan Simmons clearly has good intentions, but most of them are lost in complete staleness and cliches of the plot.So far, one of my favorite books I've re-read this year has been King's IT, which I consider one of his true masterpieces. After finishing Summer of Night, I can't help but think that Dan Simmons also shared my enthusiasm and sat down to write his own IT. Ultimately, though, he failed to recapture the magic which King did so effortlessly.What could have been a beautiful coming of age novel turned out to be little more than a B-movie horror with all the traditional staples: haunted schools, posessed objects, creatures taking over people's bodies (there's even darkness that creeps under the bed!). The book moves with a snail pace and even when something finally happens, there's not enough suspense or interest to turn the page to see the resolution. Simmons overuses cliffhangers (sometimes several times per chapter) and makes such amateurish mistakes like starting several sentences with the character's name - one after another.As the plot (slowwly) moves along, the children start recognizing what's happening in their town. What's more, they finally decide to fight the creeps with Holy Water (Salem's Lot anyone?) and when the final confrontation arises they are all gun trottin' little rambos. What's the worst, none of this is even remotely scary, and I dare to say that the interest that's set up in the opening chapter (which is a quite neat Shirley Jackson tribute) completely wanes at the end, as the novel reaches utter mediocrity.Reviewers compared Summer of Night to classics like Boy's Life and the mentioned IT; it's like comparing a wheelbarrow to a handsome muscle car. Simmons had some interesting ideas, but ultimately lacked someone who would point him in the right direction as to wherre to go with all these things - then it might have turned out to be a great novel. That's unfortunately not the case.I really wanted to like it.

  • Edward Lorn
    2018-12-10 18:41

    Preface: Some of you will read this review and wonder why I gave it such a high score when I had such a big problem with a certain aspect of the storyline. Those of you who feel confused by my rating should know that, yes, this book is terrific. It transported me to another time and place. For me, it effortlessly captured a sense of nostalgia for something I never experienced. I wasn't alive in the 60s. I didn't grow up in a small town, though I did live in one for my final years as a teenager. I only had one close friend and not a group of buddies. And while I was a fat book nerd like Duane is in the book, I never had a good relationship with my father. Those are the aspects of this book I enjoyed, even though I have no experience with those things. This book allowed me escape. That, above all else, is why the book's getting 4 stars instead of a much lower rating. Because if I scored it based solely on the plot, I'd likely give it a low 3.Minor spoilers from here on out. The 800-pound gorilla in the room, I believe, is the school. We find out in the very first chapter that this is the last year Old Central, the school all four of our main characters attend, is going to be torn down the summer in which this story takes place. And that's the problem I have with the plot. The entire time while I was reading, I kept thinking, "If the boys do nothing at all, the evil will be vanquished. If they only wait, it will be destroyed, or found out, or, at the very least, moved to another location." Simmons tries very hard to give the reader reasons for the boys to act, but red flags kept coming up throughout the narrative. The reasoning behind the boys' research into the school is weak and, in the grand scheme of things, does not matter. Why should they go looking into the school at all when it's being torn down at the end of the summer? None of the boys liked Tubby so why the fuck are they looking for him? Why isn't the school being torn down until AFTER the summer is over? Why isn't the school buzzing with the activities of the demolition crew? It takes weeks of preparation to bring down a building that size. Where the fuck is everyone? The human henchmen weren't working to keep the demolition teams away. They were wasting their time trying to kill or scare four kids and anyone who helped them. The boys should not have been the greatest threat to the evil within the school. The threat should have been the imminent arrival of a wrecking crew. Which begs the question, "Why did the school have to be torn down in the first place?"Much of these issues are the same issues I had with Carrion Comfort. I did not believe the villains' motivations in that book, and I did not believe the motivations in this one. It bugged me. Throughout the entire book, it bugged me. All that being said, I enjoyed myself. Simmons took several risks that paid off in spades. Halfway through, the mood of the book changes drastically. It's been a long time since I sat back, mouth agape, thinking, "That did not just happen. No way was that real. Where could the story possibly go from here?" Having such a shocking mood-altering scene in the middle of your book takes a lot of balls. Overall, what this book does exceptionally well is the Three Ds of Horror: Dread, Disgust, and Death. Simmons nailed that aspect. More than once I found myself chewing at my nails or crinkling my nose, and I never knew who was going to die next. Bravo.In summation: Do I think everyone or anyone else will have the same issues I had with this book? No. In fact, it's likely no one else has mentioned the problems I had while reading. And that's because this book provides a means of escape. Don't mind the gorilla and you should have a lot of fun.Final Judgment: Come for the Three Ds, stay for the nostalgia.(Big thanks to Thomas Strömquist for reading this one with me.)

  • Kasia
    2018-12-13 18:29

    Summer of Night was one of the most incredible books I have ever read and mind you it's not because I'd rather read a book on a Friday night than party, much to my boyfriends dismay as I so often do.Dan Simmons wove a masterful tale of 1960's Illinois with its cozy little town and streets, Saturday outdoor movies and the kids who were the true heroes of the story. It reminded me of Goonies in places as we quickly grow to like Dale and his younger brother Lawrance, Mike, Duane and Kevin and Jim Harlan, friends, schoolmates and brave, lovable kids who have turned this book in a magical tale that swept in front of my eyes. I have never read a more real story that has horror, fantasy and people dying feeling as real as this tale. The characters all stand out in their own way, so clear, so precise so pristine that when bad things happened to some of them, I had a tissue dabbing my eyes. The book is long, counting 600 pages but I know I will read it over again in a few years and I'm sure it will taste even better, just like leftover dinner with the deepening flavors and spices.The story itself is around a school called Old Central, where Tubby, a not so god kid disappears on the last day. It's a huge old building that is going to be closed down as all the kids are supposed to go to a new school. Dale, Lawrance, Mike, Duane, Kev and Jim all go to the same school but they are very young, around 11 yrs old, some younger, some tad older yet they are real kids; at times with bratty tough attitudes, yet Simmons doesn't pretend to sketch out a superhero in a child's body, he takes each characters and builds on it making them as real to me as my own family. I grew to love each one of them as they enriched my book with their plans to find the missing kid. As the kids started to piece together what was going on, very bad things started to happen. Unusual dark forces such as walking corpses and black worms polluted their world as sun settled and sent real life terror that was really more terrifying than any other horror book I have ever read. I laughed, cried and even took a day of from work just to sit and read this book as it slowly and beautifully unfolded its mysteries to me.Dan Simmons used the most intense, sublime and imaginary language to spin his tale, that I have never read before in a scary book. I could feel the first day of summer, the sunshine, the happiness and the approaching gloom with the kids he so intensely described. I could probably use every single one of his sentences as a quite but when he said this about the evil things my hair really stood straight, as it was true: "Beyond the cone of light, large things circled and waited". Evil did strike at night but made some terrifying appearances at day time. When the kids run into mysterious soldiers, butchered animals in a barn with human sacrifices, mysterious holes in the ground, random neighbours dying with cries of terror on their face they know that nothing is imagined and that It wont go away unless they stop it.So don't miss this glorious story, but have some time to read it and don't miss the sequel that follows where the ending stopped years in the future, its called A Winter Haunting and I cant wait to read it!

  • ✨Susan✨
    2018-11-14 18:24

    I read "A Winter Haunting" it is the sequel to this book. The characters in this book are a group of friends when they are tweens. In a Winter Haunting, (Dale), one of the boys, returns to this area as an adult. It is not as YA as this one. Anyway, this was a good horror that starts in a soon to be condemned school the day before summer break is to start. After a blood curdling scream the disappearance of a young student, strange sightings and odd deaths, a group of young buddies feel obligated and pressed by fear to take things into their own hands, especially when none of the adults will believe them, and if they say anything will probably have them admitted to the crazy house. Yes; scary, gross, ruthless deaths. This is not a nice story and yes, people are horribly mudered. The tweens must come up with an idea of how to rid the town of this horrible situation. Their very different personalities help them to develope and execute an elaborate but believable plan that puts all of their lives in serious danger. They all know going into this dangerous situation that their plan must succed in order to restore safety to the town, themselves and their loved ones. This book was a bit like a paranormal "Stand By Me". It was a good story and I liked it, however, I liked the next one, (The Winter Haunting), much better, it was more of a ghost story and wicked, goosebump, good. Perfect for Halloween.

  • Marie
    2018-11-17 21:27

    This was a great story! Schools out and four friends have a wonderful summer to look forward to until something evil appears and turns their summer into something else. I loved the detailed information of the story and how the author weaves the story around you till it feels like you are experiencing what the boys and the town were going through. This is definitely a masterpiece and it has become a favorite for me. Will be putting this on my favorites shelf and will re-read it in the future. Five stars for this one!

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    2018-11-24 22:35

    4.5 starsSummer of Night is one of those books where the story is a delight to read but the review is kind of hard to do. It's also my first novel from Dan Simmons. After finishing this book, I definitely want to read more of his work soon.The story is a sort of coming-of-age tale centered around a group of children growing up together in a small town in the 60's. School is out, summer is here, how exciting. The author brings alive the excitement of that first summer day when school is out and only months ahead await children who are eager to explore, to live, to have fun without responsibility. Idyllic summer days and nights. It opens in an old school that has seen its last class for it's about to be closed down, and the children all coming together on different days to try and solve the mysteries of the town, the horrors which await them. Each child comes from a different household holding its own basket of dysfunction. The households become as interesting as the main tale.Although the story is deep and steeped richly in imagination, it's a fully characterized book, focusing on the internal thoughts and relationships for each of the children. I was dismayed at the death of a favorite, which I never saw coming. Simmons doesn't hold back the horrors of the death punch when delivering shocks for the book. Nothing is predictable with how it will turn out and what will happen next. The ending with the villain and the wrap-up is in-depth, intelligent, and heavy with created history. There are no convenient or suddenly established plot points, but instead it was well constructed before the book was born to be slowly unraveled as small pieces are slowly handed out to the book's characters. It's a slow ride that didn't invest its hooks into me right away, so patience IS needed to trust this one to take off successfully. Still, despite the slower start, the internal character shifts are handled effectively and work well to not try the reader's patience. Huge emotional stakes in the characters’ lives helped me keep reading.Simmons was also talented with writing some truly creepy scenes, especially when deaths were involved, very awful and haunting stuff. Violence and blood isn't backed away from when it's needed, but it's not splashed on the page for mere shock effect. I did knock off half a star for some sluggishness and the death of a character who brought much to the story so that when they were gone, some of the magic left with them. Overall, though, this was an incredibly ambitious book that worked on all levels.If you're a horror fan who enjoyed the childhood trials in Stephen King's IT, or the bonding and tragedy in Robert McCammon's Boy's Life, you'll almost certainly love Summer of Night. There's something especially effective about drama-horror focusing on adolescence and coming of age in the midst of trials and struggles, calling upon the power of friendship to draw strength to defeat foes so much larger than individual self.Convincing in drama, rich in mystery, with hefty doses of genuine horror - all make this book an experience not to be passed up.

  • Orbi Alter
    2018-12-08 21:44

    Obozavam knjige koje me ucine nostalgicnom za vremenima s kojima stvarno nemam nikakvih dodirnih tocaka... Prica se dogada sezdesetih u malom farmerskom mjestascu za vrijeme vruceg i mracnog ljeta. Podsjeca na It u smislu da drustvo klinaca vodi bitku sa drevnim, iskonskim zlom i putem prozivljava teror koji ih sve jace povezuje. Naravno i da mislim da je nezahvalno usporedivati ovaj hororac s nekim drugim jer je on toliko vise od toga. Onako ugrubo, prica je to o nestanku jednog klinca na zadnji dan skole, o mracnoj monumentalnoj skolskoj zgradi koja u svojim zidinama skriva uzasne stvari i koja je predvidena za rusenje i o ezoteriji i zlu koje svoje ishodiste vuce iz obitelji Borgija. Malo eksploatativno, znam - ali fuckas tu premisu kad je to zapravo nasiroko ispisana prica o malom gradicu, galeriji zivopisnih likova, traceva i familija koje se stvarno svim silama trude, ali ih bas nece. Prica je to o svim klasicnim djecjim strahovima od mraka, umotavanja u prekrivace jer ti tako ono ispod kreveta ne moze nista, straha od ormara, zakucastih prostora, podruma i sl. O presucivanjima i generalnom nepovjerenju u odrasle koji ih svaki puta iznevjere, a (u ovom slucaju) podrsku primaju jedino od covjeka koji je potpuno unisten i sklon alkoholu iako ni on nije tu cijelo vrijeme jer i sam vodi bolne bitke. Na par mjesta naletila sam na djecje likove koji izgovaraju ne bas sasvim uvjerljive receni, ali me radnja previse okupira pa mi nije toliko smetalo. Ipak, svako dijete u ovoj knjizi ima snazno izgraden karakter, cvrsto drzi svoj dio price i zaista su zivi unutar korica - kao mala druzina iz Pet prijatelja koja sanja o pronalasku posebne pecine i koja brizljivo cuva svoje bunkere, tako da jedva cekam vidjeti u nastavku u kakve su to ljude izrasli. Pocetak knjige je bas seoska, ljetna romantika pa sam se ususkala u osjecaj "daj molim te, pa ovo je macji kasalj prica, a ja hocu jezu" koja je dosla, s malim kasnjenjem doduse, ali me prodrmala kad sam joj se najmanje nadala. Jedina minijaturna mana koju vidim i koja ovdje nije izvedana u mjeri u kojoj obicno bude, a koja mi upropasti hororac, je demistifikacija onog sto/koje progoni jer unatoc iscekivanju finala ipak mi je draze da neka pitanja ostanu visiti u zraku, a ovako moja nadanja da cu se susresti s necim novim i nikad dozivljenim potonu u banalnost opisanog... Stvarno preporucam ljudima koji vole etmosfericne horore, a i fora mi je naletiti na Simmonsa koji je protocan od prve svoje recenice:D Volim ga, al zna zapilat kad 'oce.

  • Kimberly
    2018-12-09 21:23

    Considering how long ago I read this the first time around, I had forgotten most of the "little details" concerning this book. Still one of my favorites. :)

  • Robert
    2018-11-19 20:16

    All Dan Simmons fans know that he can write successfully in any genre he chooses and that he likes to mix horror into various other genres. Here is his YA/horror novel. It's a bit too horrific, profane, violent, sexy and grim to actually appear in the YA section of any bookstore, though, what with all the guns, swearing, incipient sexuality amongst eleven year-olds, kiddie-crime and gruesome, well, horror. Which is, of course, why it's great and worth any eleven-year-old's time (or that of any older person, for that matter). Of course nightmares might be expected because it's so scary but those might not be confined to the 11-year-olds, either.All the protagonists are 11 except for one who is younger and they are up against something ill-defined, sinister and extremely dangerous - but they don't know that when they decide to investigate the disappearance of a class-mate on the last day of school before the summer of 1960. Of course, being a YA novel, the kids need to solve the problems without the help of adults, a perennial plot-constraint/difficulty of the genre that Simmons deals with superbly. First of all, his choice of setting in small-town Illinois, 1960, is great because it solves most of the problem on its own; kids then ran rampant without supervision for entire days, went camping without adult accompaniment and went wherever they wanted that was within range of their bikes and energy. In our disappearance-investigating kids' small town of Elm Haven, this includes a wide range of locales, such as farmland, woodland, the town dump and the railroad/way. Private gun security in the USA back then seems to be similar to that of today i.e. non-existent and all the kids seem to have been taken shooting by their fathers...The characterisation is excellent, which is good because there is a mob of kids who get more and more involved in an increasingly dangerous and malicious series of supernatural encounters and they need to be well differentiated from each other. There is, however a slight flaw, which is the writing itself. Generally speaking it is the evocative, atmospheric prose one expects from Simmons, but just occassionally, scattered through-out the book are individual sentences that stand out glaringly as bad - and easily corrected. A minor annoyance in a novel that manages to capture the nostalgia for childhood summer vacations/holidays from school, the fears, concerns and bonds of school-children and the spookiness and dread inspired by the inexplicable events occurring exceedingly well.Which leads me to say which genre I think this book belongs to: yes, I already claimed it is Simmons' YA novel but I also believe it is his Ray Bradbury novel. Its resemblances to both Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes are striking: small-town Illinois setting, nostalgic look back at childhood summers, unexpected tragedy and evil, nostalgia for old horror films and stories, wannabe writers...This book perhaps starts slowly but it ramps up to a gripping and terrifying experience and is never dull. It foreshadows later Simmons works such as Drood and The Terror in narrative and thematic approach. It also doesn't suffer from the bane of Simmons' books; mood-destroying/tedium inducing lit.crit. essays.Great stuff.

  • Johann (jobis89)
    2018-12-06 20:42

    "Old Central School still stood upright, holding its secrets and silences firmly within. Eighty-four years of chalkdust floated in the rare shafts of sunlight inside while the memories of more than eight decades of varnishings rose from the dark stairs and floors to tinge the trapped air with the mahogany scent of coffins."This book is a story about five 12-year old boys who live in Elm Haven in 1960. It follows them through their summer holidays as they encounter a number of strange happenings within their town and as they come to realize evil is lurking in their town, and they must stop it.THIS BOOK. Honestly. One of the best books I've ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. Dan Simmons created such amazing characters and a little town that I felt like I knew inside out. I'm a huge King fan, obviously, so I am no stranger to horror, but this book scared the **** outta me. This is potentially my fault for doing most of my reading at night, but there were definitely a few restless nights. The tension created, the building of the story to an absolutely terrifying conclusion...these are some of the best things about this book. Yes, it does take a while to start, and I think it's maybe a hundred or more pages into the book before something scary actually happens, but you can feel it building and that makes the horror somehow worse.The kids themselves were impeccably developed, each with their own personality and unique traits, as well as different family set-ups. I felt a connection to each one, particularly Duane, but I want to keep this review spoiler-free so I won't go into how much I loved Duane and how I felt about his story arc. The kids riding around on bikes is heavily reminiscent of Stephen King's IT. In fact, quite a number of different themes within this book remind me of IT, but this is its own unique story, believe me. Other similarities include the themes of childhood friendship, friends coming together to combat a bigger evil in their town and the story being set in the 60s, of course. It's terrifying on so many levels, what these young boys are enduring.Simmons takes certain situations, which might be considered cliche, such as things hiding under your bed, a presence at your window, walking through a cemetery, and yet somehow seems to reinvent them in a way which makes you think twice about glancing out through your window in the dead of night.I cannot praise this book highly enough, definitely one of the best and scariest books I've ever read. Simmons has acquired a new fan!

  • Adam Light
    2018-11-27 18:40

    I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that Dan Simmons' Summer Of Night is a "must read" for all horror fiction fans. I made it forty years before ever hearing about it.What I will say is that I find it almost criminal that this coming of age horror tale is so obscure. I am thankful for the freinds I have on Goodreads for cluing me in on Simmons.The first one of his books I read was the astonishingly complex and brilliant Carrion Comfort, which is a "must read." This one should be read by anyone who enjoyed It, Boy's Life, Something Wicked This Way Comes and their ilk. I have to say that this is a slow-paced novel, more atmospheric than action-packed, but the pacing felt perfect for me, and there is plenty of creepiness throughout. The last 100 pages were relentlessly exciting.I loved ot.

  • Debra
    2018-11-28 21:31

    Stephen King book blurb says: "If Summer of the Night isn't the best horror novel of the last five years, it is surely one of the best three - a gorgeous and terrifying story of five boys who come face to face with a monstrous entity during an enchanted Illinois summer thirty years ago. Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel, loading his American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia. This is one of those rare must-read books, easily surpassing Clive Barker's Books of Blood. I am in awe of Dan Simmons."This book was written in 1991. I have to believe there were many better horror novels around that time, including Stephen King's! I just can't agree with sai King on this one. It wasn't awful, but it certainly wasn't great. I hate to disagree with King cause he's the MAN, but geesh... maybe he was paid A LOT for this blurb? Shaking head in wonder.I can't agree with anyone who has reviewed this book and compared to Stephen King's IT and found this one superior. WHAT? No way, Jose! IT was in all ways superior to Summer of the Night. I think Mr. Simmons was trying to create his own version of IT, but fell short. Now, don't get me wrong; I think Dan Simmons is a great writer and his recent stuff rocks. But this one... well...Ok, let's talk about continuity and repeated text galore! For example he mention's that Dale's basement has flooded 4 times in 4.5 years; several chapters later he says that the basement has flooded 2 times in 4 years. He also mentions that the same basement has no windows two different times. Another time he mentions that Lawrence usually wanted to hold his older brother's hand while falling asleep, but most of the time Dale told him no. He mentions the same thing almost verbatim later in the book. Simmons does this several times... I guess it's nice he wants to remind us of something he told us earlier in the book, but it really annoyed me.Also, there is one boy in the group who sets out to fight the evil in their town that has never actually witnessed a supernatural event. All the other characters have seen stuff and experienced stuff that scares the bejesus out of them, but not Kevin? Why does he even believe his buddies when they share their experiences? His character is very under-developed so you have no idea why he buys into participating in life-threatening plans, when he has no first-hand experience of what has been going on. And why did a key character get killed off early in the book; the most well fleshed-out character of them all? Why take the time to get us so invested in him and then eliminate him? I did find that Dale's and Mike's characters were well-developed, but didn't really buy Kevin's and Jim's. Lawrence was somewhere in between, but why was he often alone in the brothers' shared room when he was sooooo afraid of what is under his bed? No way would he EVER be in that room alone, even in daylight.An HOW could any of these boys experience periods of "normal" boyish moments like searching for a buried cave, playing hours of baseball, etc. when they all knew they were in grave danger at any time of the day and night? I'd be sticking close to home and worrying myself sick! Just too many things didn't work for me with this book. It took me longer to read than my usual fast pace, and it wasn't plausible. It did have some creepy parts and the premise was good, but otherwise I just wouldn't recommend this to others.

  • Mindi
    2018-12-03 01:31

    When I was a kid I loved John Bellairs. His books were horror for the pre-teen set. All of them were steeped in Catholicism and involved small town kids from bygone eras who had to fight some sort of ancient evil. Usually there was an adult there to lend a hand, but for the most part the kids were on their own when it came to saving the world. Summer of Night is like John Bellairs for adults in the best way.The kids in this novel! I loved every one of them. My copy had an introduction by Simmons that was written 10 years after the novel was first published. This book, and that introduction seriously made me want to weep for the kids of today. Simmons talks about how life really would have been the way he wrote it for kids in 1960. Summer would arrive, and kids would leave their homes in the morning and spend the day exploring and playing until dark. He references a study that was conducted in 2007 on a single family from the Great Grandfather who was 8 in 1919 to the current child of the family who was 8 at the time of the study. The Great Grandfather as a child of 8 was permitted to walk six miles to go fishing out of town. The 8 year old in 2007? He was permitted to walk to the end of his street.Now I know a lot of people, especially parents, are going to argue that crimes rates have gone up, and that child kidnappings have increased since 1919. There have also been numerous studies about crimes against children in recent years, and the truth is, our children are really not as threatened as we think they are. In reality, our perceptions of evil in the world have just increased. Smart phones, internet, and video games aside, kids today simply do not play outside nearly as much as kids did even in my generation. I grew up in the 80's, and I remember leaving the house in the morning during the summer and not returning home until it started to get dark. I rode my bike, played baseball, and hide and seek in the woods. I scraped me knees and bruised myself more times than I can remember. It was awesome. My 13-year old Stepdaughter barely leaves the house. I have never seen her ride a bike. Sure, she has technology that we could never even begin to image in the 1980's, but I can't help feeling sad that she never got to be free as a kid.The parts of this book that really stuck with me were the kids just being kids. I loved the dirt clod war, the excavation of Bootlegger's Cave, the camping, the bike riding...all of it reminded me of summer and being a kid.Then there is the story! Just like in a Bellairs novel an ancient evil has been awakened, and the kids are the only ones who know that something is horribly wrong in their town. They start off exploring on their own, but when something terrible happens they realize that the entire town is in danger, and they come together to fight to save it.Summer of Night is creepy, atmospheric, and nostalgic. There are some truly unsettling parts in this book, and about halfway through Simmons pulls the rug out from under you. I loved this one. It made we wish so much that if only for a single day, we could just put technology and our fears aside and let our kids run, and play, and be free.

  • Thomas Strömquist
    2018-11-15 20:23

    First of 2016 - Buddy read with Edward Lorn - first one to enter my favorite shelf in quite some time!In what should be a perfectly normal summer of 1960 in Elm Haven, a group of kids gets aware that a great evil is waking up. On the last day of school, one boy vanishes and other strange things starts happening. All seems to be connected to their school itself, the Old Central. As the kids starts to tentatively investigate some of the odd happenings, sightings and strange behaving townspeople they are targeted and soon realize that they have to pull together and fight what's threatening not only them, but time is running out.Superbly told and absolutely riveting coming-of-age-cum-horror story, quite certainly owing a lot to King's IT, but a great book in its own rights. Characterization is wonderful and I have trouble remembering another book where 12-year old protagonists worked so well (the little brother is a mere 8 and he works too!) But it doesn't end there, the bullies, the girls, the scary adults and the parents and uncles (and not least grandmother Memo!) are greatly drawn too and this really enhances the experience. And last, but not least, the Old Central itself (but here I got and advantage, since I went my first school years in a building that could easily have been a physical manifestation of this one - another experience enhancer I can tell you!) My favorite character is, however, the sister of the first boy taken, Cordie Cooke, a poor, gun-toting and strangely resourceful outsider girl who the boys have pinned as more or less certifiable. But, following a few close calls that comes to nothing thanks to her uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right (or perhaps that should be wrong) time, they come to depend on her quite a bit. Definitely no Beverly of IT, but certainly one you want on your team!Great build-up with top narrative and storytelling, then around the middle mark, the whole thing takes a tough and unexpected turn for the darker. Lastly, a model ending - suspenseful, but not unnecessarily drawn out. Basically, I thought everything in this book worked, I'm amazed that I haven't read it before and very happy that Edward wanted to read it with me. I will surely search out more by Simmons.

  • J.K. Grice
    2018-11-12 23:22

    To me, SUMMER OF NIGHT is not only a modern horror classic, but it's also a brilliant coming-of-age story set in the 1960's. This offering from Simmons is simply one of the best books that I have ever read (3 times to date).

  • Abbie | ab_reads
    2018-11-15 00:36

    4.5 stars .This is my second Dan Simmons novel and I was just as impressed as with Carrion Comfort by the sheer scope and detail of his writing! I love horror, but I often find myself disappointed when authors sacrifice good writing for shock tactics and plot twists; there is NONE of that with Simmons! He is almost at King level with his build-ups, child characters, and descriptions of small-town life, and the writing is impeccable. I definitely got IT vibes from our young group of heroes!.And the scares. Oh man. If you're looking for a super scary book then look no further! There was a veritable PLETHORA of scares of all kinds: jump scares (yes I consider books to have jump scares), creeping scares, gross-out scares... the works! It is a bit of a slow start, but it soon picks up!.Now for a few things that I did not like. I'll try to keep them succinct so I will make a list:.1. An unpleasant amount of violence towards animals and animal deaths. No thank you.2. Simmons apparently forgetting that 11 is not an appropriate age to sexualise a girl (well, no age is if she's just going to be used as an object/plot device). I get that it was trying to tell of a first crush/kiss, but it went way too far in my opinion.3. The lack of Cordie Cooke for approximately 200-300 pages in the middle?? Where did she go?! I loved her! She was batshit crazy and fearless, and I was happy with her ending but did Simmons just forget about her for a third of the book?.Okay that wasn't as brief as I'd hoped BUT those things only hindered my enjoyment a bit! It's still such a solid horror story, with one of the most epic showdowns/finales EVER. Highly recommend to horror fans!

  • Cindy Newton
    2018-12-08 01:31

    I loved this! I listened to it on audiobook, and found myself making excuses to run errands so I could listen in the car. It's the tale of a group of young kids and the hellish summer they spend battling the forces of evil in the shape of horrendous monsters. It reminded me a lot of It, but at the same time, it is a completely different story.The mayhem starts quickly as the story opens on the last day of school. As the last bell sounds and the student body rushes out to begin summer, there is one student who doesn't leave--and never will. From then on the book alternates between hair-raising scenes of horror and descriptions of children enjoying their summer break, reminding you that they are, after all, just kids. (view spoiler)[And one scene had me howling in anguish and disbelief--NO!! NOT DUANE!!! I couldn't BELIEVE they actually got him. It broke my heart! (hide spoiler)]I think it is interesting that you give me a book like this, about a ragtag group of 10- and 11-year olds fighting against unimaginable horrors with a grim intensity and I'm completely spellbound; give me a book about teenagers saving the world and my primary reaction is skepticism. Part of it is that I teach teenagers. I've seen their work; their inability to understand the simplest directions no matter how many times you repeat them, to master the complexity of such problems as putting their entire name at the top of their paper . . . these things do not inspire me with confidence in their ability to save all of mankind. ;) I think it is also because the kids' fight against evil is saturated with the magic of childhood. As we read, we are transported back to that time when magic was possible and anything could happen, when monsters DID dwell in dark closets and under the bed. In these stories, the impossible becomes possible and things we never dreamed of become real. In teen years, that magic fades and the only impossible things that become real are hormone-driven. In the world of children, the kids are battling these forces of evil without adult help. The adults, having lost their magic long ago, are completely blind to the forces of evil. They are unaware that a battle is going on at all. These kids are on their own. The teenagers, however, in many popular YA books, step in when the moronic adults have proven themselves completely unable to deal with the situation. They then run rings around the moronic adults and save the day. This is less believable to me than the story based on the magic of childhood. So if you're a fan of horror and childhood nostalgia, this book is for you! I highly recommend!!

  • Jake
    2018-11-30 19:38

    Ever wanted to read a Stephen King novel that DOESN'T have a shitty ending? Here ye go. Simmons manages to cram together everything cool about Stand By Me and It with none of the bloat, while throwing in a little bit of The Sandlot and a whole lot of balls. Main characters die suddenly and savagely. Sixth-graders murder people. Hundreds of shots are fired. And everything makes sense in the end. But not, y'know, TOO much sense. It's a damn good, creepy time.If I HAD a gripe, it would be that the 12-year-old stars of the story are a little too adult-like, but that's a drawback I'm willing to take in exchange for this batch of fully realized characters. It matters what they do and it matters what happens to them, because they're real. You don't often get that in a horror story.Simmons doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves as one of our greatest living writers, and that's a damn shame. Even his misfires are so ambitious that they're worth our time, and when he writes a focused story like this one? It's so money and you don't even know it.

  • david
    2018-11-13 23:24

    "Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel, loading his American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia. One of those rare must-read books...I am in awe of Dan Simmons." - Stephen KingMr. King's words of high praise are what drew me to read this story. I agree, after just finishing it, that Dan Simmons' talent is outstanding...Summer of Night is one helluva ride!

  • 11811 (Eleven)
    2018-11-19 20:15

    Stephen King blurbs on the cover that he is in awe of Dan Simmons. I concur. Simmons resurrects all your childhood fears and confirms their validity. Their IS something under the bed, its pissed, and you have every reason to be very afraid.

  • Nils | nilsreviewsit
    2018-11-18 23:32

    'There was a great tearing at his legs, an irresistible force lifted him and turned him, pulled him towards the vortex he could feel through every fiber of his body, but for that split second, that briefest of instants, he was free-he could see the stars-and he lifted his face towards them even as he was spun away into the darkness roaring below and around him.' Summer of Night by Dan Simmons was a thoroughly brilliant read. I wouldn't want to tell you too much about the plot as I wouldn't want to give much away but the story centres around a group of children as they investigate the mysterious events taking place in Oak Haven. Once again I found Dan Simmons writing to be excellently done. He has a way of describing scenes and events so vividly that you can picture them so clearly. I have to say though that I do find Simmons can tend to throw a way too much information at the reader, which did annoy me a little. I get that he wants you to have a full understanding of the background and history of a certain place, or a certain event because it becomes important later on in the book, but he really can drag this out and make me loose my interest somewhat. I think if certain parts at the beginning were more refined and to the point I would have enjoyed the earlier chapters much more. Having said that though I did love the nostalgic vibe that was created at the beginning. Through the characters we get the sense of anticipation for the last day of school and the freedom of the summer that lies ahead. That moment when you're wishing the minutes away until you can get out of school, the joy of not getting up and rushing during the first days of the summer holiday, and the freedom to do what you want but not quite knowing what you want to do! I think this feeling was pretty universal in all our childhood's so I really did enjoy that. The characters were also fantastic. Duane, Dale, Lawrence, Mike , Harlen and Kev were such a band of likeable and relatable kids, that you couldn't help but love them all. This is where I got a Stranger Things, The Goonies and Stand By Me vibe! The kids were all so different, with different backgrounds - some of them had pretty rough home lives - but they all fitted so well with each other that their friendship was endearing. Did this book scare me in the way I wanted it to? No, not really, but that wasn't a bad thing, because this book made me feel so much. I was attached to the characters, I feared for them, rooted for their success, and the suspense of the ending was definitely edge of your seat stuff. Literally non stop action, I loved all that. I think this would make a fantastic film.

  • Gary
    2018-11-18 17:30

    The author has a masterful control of language. The story brings to life a childhood summer and the sense of nostalgia most of us feel when looking back on childhood events that bear significance on our lives. Tapping this archetypal current of experience, Simmons develops the setting and characters thoroughly before delving into the plot and the action.The early chapters (perhaps through chapter 19) establish the setting, atmosphere and characters with hints of horror subtly interspersed at very rare intervals. When the action begins it build it grows to a crescendo, like a piece of music with the conductor gesticulating in wilder and wilder motions as it nears the end.The story was good, skillfully written and a must read for horror fans. What kept it from being great, in my opinion, is the subtle build up to the plot that at times felt self indulgent, as if Simmons was so thoroughly enjoying his vision of summer as a boy and what that meant to him that he delayed moving the plot along for a greater period of time than was necessary. This novel requires patience to thoroughly enjoy. Its reputation will prompt readers to work through chapters that they would probably give up on had they been written by a lesser known author. Are they worth waiting through? Definitely. The wait, however, is the difference between four and five stars to me.

  • Blake
    2018-11-28 21:36

    I've read this book twice. There's something about young kids battling great, dark, unknown forces that always gets my blood pumping. the secret world of youth/innocence in the context of supernatural, otherwise invisible dimensions. how adults lose their seeing eyes perhaps because they're afraid of that which they can't comprehend, or that which they deny. there are a few chilling scenes in this book that still return to me every now and then. i probably love this book in the same way i love the movie "Lost Boys."

  • Leah Polcar
    2018-12-01 01:40

    This review refers to the audiobook. I only heard of Dan Simmons recently when one of my Goodreads groups hadSummer of Nightas an option for a group read. Truly, I was only mildly interested. Between the sort of cheesy cover and the description -- kids confront ancient evil in their own backyard and fight to save humanity, or something like that -- it's only saving grace seemed that it was the best of a bad lot. Then I saw some reviews proclaiming Dan Simmons a horror genius and saying thatSummer of Nighta classic and I started to wonder if maybe there was something to this book. Then I saw my friends' reviews, almost all 5 stars, and I figured I probably should pick up a copy.I absolutely loved this book. While it was indeed about a bunch of kids confronting ancient in their own backyard and fighting to save humanity, it was a ripping-good -- and weirdly plausible in context -- ride. What madeSummer of Nightoutstanding was the characterization -- I really came to love these kids and loved that their reactions to the events that unfolded seemed so appropriate. It was also well-plotted and written and there were some genuinely creepy moments to boot.Summer of Nighthas been compared to Stephen King'sITandThe Body(or, in the latter case, reallyStand By Me ). This makes sense given the story is written from the perspective of children back in the good old days, but unlikeITwe do not get any adult perspective and unlikeThe Body , the focus is less on the relationships between the children, or how times have changed, than on the children themselves. Life's struggles are secondary to dealing with the supernatural problems at hand, and the 60s is really just a backdrop, not a real focus, which makes this an excellent horror book in its own right. The narration by Dan John Miller was excellent and added to the story -- which is important since the audio version ofSummer of Nightclocks in at about 22 hours. (Talk about value for money!).I will certainly be remedying my ignorance of Simmon's soon as I can hardly wait to check out some of his other novels -- I think that he may actually live up to the hype (and the apparent recommendation from Stephen King, which almost never seems to work out for me in most cases).

  • Bandit
    2018-12-09 18:30

    Once in a while there comes a book that completely lives up to all its hype and great reviews, a book that transcends genres by not just being a great horror story, but a great novel, a great work of fiction. Summer of Night is one of those books. Epic in scope, massive and thoroughly awesome in every way. The author perfectly captures the freedom and excitement of being a kid during the summer. It's well written and genuinely scary in parts. The pages and characters come to life with cinematic vividness. SPOILER ALERT It was very upsetting to see the author kill off my favorite character midway through the book SPOILER END. It's pretty obvious that the author leans toward verbosity(good thing that he is in fact so good with words) evident not only from this giant book but also from its very lengthy intro, which by all means should be an afterword as it contains spoilers. I was very glad that I chose to skip it and read it after the completion of the book. Mostly the subject of the intro is decrying of the loss of children's personal freedom nowadays comparing to 1960. Some fine points are made supported by legitimate research, but it comes across as a bit of a personal quest lecture, something there is happily no trace of throughout the actual book. There are some interesting and informative things in the introduction, such as autobiographical notes and guide to the other books featuring the characters from Summer of Night. Very impressive terrific book, highly recommended.