It all started when we found the body.
Then nothing was ever the same.
The Dry meets Stand by Me and True Detective in this stunningly written tale of the darkness at the heart of a small mid-Western town and the four kids who uncover it.
In the heatwave summer of 1971, four kids find a body by a lake and set out to solve a murder. But they dig too deep and ask too many qu...more
Nearer publication I will but I'll probably still be sobbing slightly. Best book I've read this year by a clear mile. Easily in contention for my no 1 spot in December and I'll actually be VERY surprised if anything beats it.
I'm going to lie down now and have another good cry. Beautiful writing. Heart wrenching stuff.
There's almost a sub-genre of books set in a claustrophobic small town where the surface quiet hides a seething mix of secrets and lies culminating in murder - this is one of the better ones. Lewis can write: her prose is unflashy but acute, and there's an undertow of emotion that is barely restrained both in John, the narrator, and the novel itself.
The four protagonists are adolescents 13-15 and in lots of ways this is as m ...more
Told from the aspect of 4 youngsters trying to solve a mystery, following their discovery of a womans body. This is no famous five story there's a definite Stephen King feel to the storyline which is dark and grim and hostile.
There's nothing light ...more
Set in Larson, a small town in middle of America’s corn belt, full of seemingly good people and where everything seems perfect on the surface. But secrets and lies abound and the underlying darkness is about to emerge. The story is character driven and told from the perspective of John (Johnny) Royal, a thirteen year old living with his mother and younger sister, Jenny, on a small farm a mile outside of town.
It was during the heat wave summer of 1971 that everything changed. Let out of schoo ...more
Bitter Sun is a novel that begins in a heatwave of 1971 and ends in summer 1973. It takes place in the rural town of Larson and the Vietnam war and its impact on small rural communities sets the backdrop for the novel.
The novel follows brother and sister John and Jenny and their childhood friends Gloria and Rudy. They discover the body of a female murder victim, which the town is quick to hush up! Too quick for John and Jenny’s liking and they set out to unmask the killer. John n ...more
More than the mystery, this novel was a coming-of-age for our main quartet. An exploration of familial relationships, the highs and the lows ...more
Happily playing in their secluded cubby, The Roost, down by Big Lake, John and his sister Jenny and best friends, Gloria and Rudy, discover the body of a young gir ...more
Told from young 13 yr old Johnny Royal's view as the sanctuary of his younger sister and two best friends' clubhouse becomes the area where a girls body is found by the children.
Like a car crash in slow motion you know something is bad in the town, each year sees the children's home life become worse. Indeed his sister Jenny is under the impression their mother will kill her ...more
It took me a while to get into the story but it totally worth the time.
Bitter Sun’s premise is very similar to The Chalk Man’s: in a small town a group of children find a dead body and they start to investigate because no one else seems to care about it.
In the case of Bitter Sun we are following these children from the summer of 1971 to 1973, from the day they discover the body near their secret hideout until they finally learn the truth. While they’re searching for clues and trying to find ...more
(copy from publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)
I had high hopes for this book after loving The Wolf Road and I was not disappointed. The book is quite grim at times, right from the start and the author does not hold back any emotional punches. This is a coming of age story but one that is steeped in darkness. I was shocked when the kids were treated with such hostility after they find the dead body and it’s even suggested one of them might be ...more
Small town America is always portrayed in a certain way so it is easy to see the picture which the author paints. The awful secrets a town hides and how within a moment - your life is changed forever.
I don't give spoilers in any review I do, but if you like either Stand by me or True Detective then you must read this book. The author writes with ease. I'll definitely be checking other titles ...more
My advice would be to strap in before reading ...more
Told in the first person by 13 year old John Royal its about a hard upbringing in a tough community; the unrelenting heat, the Vietnam draft and families struggling to make a living.
Its a descriptive novel the small-town community and the drought ridden countryside is well written and easily visualised.
John, his sister Jenny and friends Rudy and Gloria, like most kids had a hideaway, a den or clearing somewhere ...more
This was so different to the other book of hers I read. Where that was cold, this was sweltering. Where it was lonely, this was populated. It wasn't an easy book to read. Far from it. It was brutal and dark and horrific and sad. But it also brought up reminders, powerful and important reminders, of the power friends have to help you heal and grow.
I will continue to slowly battle on and if I get further I will review again.