Summer Sundays: Beach Reads #1 - Summer of Storms, by Judith Kelman

So maybe it's not the first book you might think of reading at the beach, but that's just where you should read it. Where you should not read it is alone in your apartment after dark...which is what I did.

Thankfully this "novel of suspense" doesn't live up to Ghostface Killer standards, but it has its expected moments of imminent danger. That is, unless you had my copy (which I got from the lobby of my building) in which the previous reader (or at least someone who read it since it was published in 2001) had highlighted some kind of important parts and, as a result, I knew who the killer was long before anyone else figured it out. Published in March of 2001, it revolves around a family's inability to cope even 30 years after the unsolved murder of a 5 year old girl.

After the girl's murder (which remains unsolved), her parents and her sister escaped to one of the Carolinas, but never really moved on. Now the girl's younger sister, who was just three years old at the time of the incident, is trying to make her mark as a big time photojournalist. She ends up taking a job back in New York, much to her mother's horror, and getting this weirdly situated and even more strangely described loft apartment in Brooklyn (Kelman skimps on some of the details, i.e. she can see the WTC from her roof, but the subway's location seems indeterminate. It bothered me the whole book. There she is, rushing off to work, but when she first saw the apartment, she had to walk quite a bit from the train. Now she's rushing that in heels? How far is the train?) Then (oh no!) her parents start receiving strange phone calls essentially warning them of some repeated doom. Meanwhile, a group of cold case solvers take on the 30-year-old murder after getting their own strange phone call. 

In retrospect you'll probably figure it out even without some helpful highlighting. Despite the author's attempts to cloud the mind with plot line with too many characters, too many suspects, and far too many points of view, the facts are pretty straightforward and not terribly interesting, which is just what you need for  the beach. It's like the acknowledgements page or the creepy haphazardly handwritten font used for chapter titles - so much overworking, and for what? A beach read with zero gratuitous sex. Like I said, not the first thing you want to bring to the beach, but it'll suffice, if only as a temporary pillow or tool for shading your face from the sun.


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