11 May 2018



Pete Boland was busy doing nothing that summer. Long, stiflingly hot, lazy days stretched ahead of him.

Then she called.

It was Nicole.

'Listen, Pete. . . you know that funfair, up at the recreation ground...I thought we could all meet up...you know, for old times sake.'

But, where there are old times there are old tensions. And as secrets, bitterness and jealousies resurface, five old friends are plunged into the worst night of their lives. . .
- Back Cover Blurb

The summer of this story started for me on a hot Thursday night at the end of July, just as the sun was beginning to go down.
- First Sentence, Chapter One

I could feel it all again, thumping away in my heart - people screaming, sirens wailing, everything spinning ... whirling wheels, stars and spaceships, thousands of faces, a million booming voices swirling around in the air - HERE WE GO! EVERYONE'S A WINNER ... IT'S C-C-C-C-CRAZEE! - the lights burning my eyes, the crash of the rides rolling and ripping all around me - TERMINATOR! METEOR! TWISTER! FUN HOUSE! - throwing out madness into the night ...
- Memorable Moment, Page 252

SOURCE ... Ex-library stock.

  • What's In A Name?: 'A Season In The Title' category
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MY THOUGHTS ... Given that this was a bit of a slow starter with a bit of an 'meh' ending you may be surprised to learn that I actually really enjoyed it.

A part coming of age, part crime, novel with twists and turns galore. A tale about the chaos of adolescence, marketed at the teen/young adult market; (without giving too much away) its main characters are teenagers (the main protagonist a 'typical apathetic' teenager), there's a secret den, there's a fair ground, there's illicit drug taking, there's violence, there's the drinking of alcohol until you vomit. Things many young adults will have an understanding of and yet, hard hitting (the sense of menace is palpable, the kids from the 'estate' as frightening as any hitman), it may well surprise more mature readers just how much they will enjoy it ... after all a cracking murder mystery is a cracking murder mystery (and make no mistake Black Rabbit Summer is just that, a cracking murder mystery) no matter what the age of the characters/those the book is marketed at.

At the heart of the novel are five young people at that stage of life when, no longer children, and yet not quite adults, they would rather die than let their parents know what is going on in their lives. As mentioned, there's the apathetic Pete (the narrator of the story), then there's the 'joker', the tragic anti-hero; the good looking but 'moody' one with a secret; the 'object of every boy's desire' (or at least Pete's) and then there's ... well, there's Raymond.

Obsessed with his pet rabbit (the black rabbit of the title), - BE WARNED: along with the violence and other fairly 'grown-up' themes, there is animal cruelty  - Raymond, considered odd/'not all there', is a fascinating character. The very fact that there is no real conclusion to his fate my only real gripe with the book.


Lindsay said...

Not sure I could read this if there's animal cruelty, but I was intrigued by the opening, the blurb, and your thoughts on it.

Kelly said...

I'm rather torn about this one. If you could tolerate the animal cruelty, I assume I could, too. The plot sounds quite good... but you did surprise me by saying you enjoyed it, despite the slow and not-so-good ending. And that lack of conclusion puts me off some. Maybe if I happen across it somewhere...

Melliane said...

the no conclusion would be really complicated for me

Suko said...

Oooh, this sounds intriguing. The opening reminds me of lines in a Prince song, Raspberry Beret. Lovely review, Tracy.

Brian Joseph said...

The animal cruelty would put me off.

You wrote “they would rather die than let their parents know what is going on in their lives.” That does sound like a realistic description of some teenagers :)

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Opinions about this book seem to be split right down the middle - you either love it or hate it!

As much as I do enjoy a good suspense story, I really don't think the characters would appeal to me all that much, with their seemingly mindless violence.

Also, I do like and expect my books to have a definitive ending. One where I have to make assumptions about a set of circumstances just don't do it for me I'm afraid.

I do like the title of the book however and I'm sure that alone will probably attract plenty of attention and interest!

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekedn :)


Anonymous said...

Although what you said in
your excellent review, as
well the first sentence and
the memorable moment which
you have chosen piqued my
curiosity, I am uncertain
about this book.

Literary Feline said...

That must have been some middle for you to like this one with a meh start and end. I worry that the animal cruelty would bother me with this one though.

Natasha said...

OH MY GOSH I LOVE KEVIN BROOKS! I am so glad you read and reviewed this as it's one of my favourites but you're right, that open ending always tugged at my heartstrings. I just really loved this book, it's so raw and has a lot of dark elements to it, but I got so attached to the characters. So glad to see it on here! - Tasha

Gina R said...

You're right, I WAS surprised to hear it all worked out in the end despite the start and finish...then again, I've seen that happen before myself, odd as it may seem. Great post!