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Summer of Night [Hardcover]

Dan Simmons
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, January 1991 --  
Paperback CDN $13.71  
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Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged CDN $17.51  

Book Description

January 1991
It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic childhood. But amid the sun-drenched cornfields, their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Strange and horrifying events begin to overtake everyday life, spreading terror through the once-peaceful town. Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood — against an arcane abomination who owns the night.... “It stands with the best of King and Straub in the traditional modern horror genre.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Impressive...combines beautiful writing and suspense into a book for which Dan Simmons deserves the bestseller status of King and Koontz.” —The Denver Post “One can only wonder what Simmons will do next, now that he’s shown us he can do everything the best writers in horror and science fiction can do.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Hugo Award-winning novelist Simmons pens an outstandingly eerie horror story about a group of Midwestern boys stalked by an ancient evil.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A monstrous, timeless entity is devouring children. Adults either refuse to understand what is happening, or are themselves agents for the monster. A group of young boys, in uneasy partnership with an outcast girl, realize they must kill the creature before it devours them all. Simmons ( The Fall of Hyperion, LJ 3/15/90), winner of several prestigious awards for science fiction and horror (most recently a Hugo Award for Hyperion , Doubleday, 1989) ranks with the best the genre has to offer. In outline, this novel resembles Stephen King's It ( LJ 8/86). The children are well drawn and affecting in their bravery. This book should be in most horror fiction collections. BOMC alternate.
- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Coming of Age Horror March 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First off, this is by far my favorite book (horror or otherwise). The setting and characters are detailed very well and Dan Simmons has a extremely vivid imagination when it comes to horror description.
The story takes place during the summer of 1963 in a small Illinois town, and revolves around a group of 12-year-old kids. The town's central locale is dominated by a school that also serves as a place of evil. The group of kids realize that an evil force is trying to kill them that is somehow related to this mysterious school. They get into several adventures thoughout the summer while trying to solve the disappearance of a local school-mate. Dan Simmons does an excellent job of describing everyday life for 12-year-old kids during a hot Illinois summer, and SUMMER OF NIGHT is full of suspenseful encounters with several adults who may or may not be evil killers.
SUMMER OF NIGHT is a true coming-of-age horror novel in the same category as Stephen King's IT, Richard Laymon's THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW, Robert McCammon's BOY'S LIFE, and Dean Koontz's VOICES OF THE NIGHT. If you're looking for very scary horror involving teenagers in about 700 pages then this is the book for you. Trust me, once you start this you will not put it down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not for the serious. Jan. 16 2004
By Josh
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I started reading this novel about a year ago, then I stopped reading it due to having to work too many hours and college and all that fun stuff. Last week I found it while cleaning up my room and started it again, and I'm glad I did.
First off, this book is great for the sci-fi aliens taking over the world fan - which I'm not. I thought the book was going to be more horror, but it should actually be a sci-fi book than anything else.
As for scare factor, this book has some really good scary scenes where you skip lines because the action is so great and you want to see what happens, but it also has parts that are suppose to be scary, and you know they are suppose to be, but it is so far beyond reality that you just have to laugh or roll your eyes.
But I believe that is what this whole book is based on, how something so far from the norm of 1960 life in a small town could happen and the effect it has on the society (the older peoples many "reasons" and logic for the goings on are perfect).
Overall, if you have a weekend or week that is going to be pretty dull, grab this book and its sequel A Winters Haunting that I am currently reading also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly, scary read Dec 30 2003
By Shawn
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From start to finish, this novel broadcasts Dan Simmons's talent for creating engrossing, subbliminal plots that burrow their way into your subconscious and reside there like festering worms. This book scares me on a number of levels, ultimately because of the relentless attack upon five unsuspecting but strong-willed children during a hellacious summer in 1960. Children die horribly in this novel, though these moments are not always fully described. Simmons lets the reader make up his own visuals, especially during the opening scene in which one young boy meets his horrible end in a basement bathroom, of all places. It also explores the nature of evil inherent in man himself, as seen in the deplorable acts of the local constabulary as well as a group of self-serving school patrons given to feeding their students to ancient Egyptian gods so that Armageddon may be brought about. Make no mistake, the death of the novel's key hero combined with the tolling of the ancient bell described in the story is likely the most disturbing element of the novel, due mainly to the events leading up to that murderous moment, events which shape and ultimately destroy one young boy's life as efficiently as a bullet to the soul. Give yourself ample time to swim deep in the waters of this wonderful novel. You won't regret it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Spooky, but not frightening. Nov. 3 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Summer of Night provides not so much a horror novel, but a rather poignant look at the lives of a group of boys on the verge of becoming young men. While there are some scares and moments of gore, the more appealing part of this story is 6th grade male insights into friendship, parents, and of course the opposite sex. The young heroes are impressive in their realism. One boy worries to himself as he races to meet what may very well be his doom in the form of an ancient evil, that some water on the front of his pants will make him look like a sissy who has wet himself. It is moments like these that set the tone and mood of the story, much more so than the horror elements.
There were two problems I had reading Summer of Night. One - The most interesting character buys it just when the plot gets tangled. Two - At times, a road map would have been helpful to understand the narrative. The author gets bogged down in describing who went which way on what road, where the road goes, which road it connects to and so on and so forth, losing the reader in a maze of meaningless street names.
While spooky, and occasionally jolting, the book doesn't quite frighten. But the one-liners delivered by the small band of gun-wielding reluctant heroes are worth the read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An Adequate Novel Oct. 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before I start this review I'd like the eventual reader to know that I consider myself a Simmons fan I've read almost everything he wrote and I admire the fact that he almost always excels in the genre he choses. This book is one of his lesser entries, I tried to like this book but i found myself really liking only three of the characters : Duane, Dale and Mike. I thought the others were either poorly drawn (Kevin) or unlikable (Harlan). As for the story itself well it's pretty much the same old gang of boys against an evil entity thing. I did like the link to the Borgias and the tunnels under the town. Other than that it is only o.k. having a few scares and a few moments of truth the description of a young one's summer. This basically feeels as if Simmons is doing a ''cover'' of a Stephen King book but with less agility than King.
The book is not bad or excellent, i usually expect more original work from Simmons. Or at least a very good entry in that conforms to genre rules while bending them like Hardcase. This one is a bit too generic and feels more like an attempt at greater sales figures. But if you like Simmons or this kind of storyy, give it a try - you might like it more than I did.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dan Simmons Is The Writer Stephen King Wishes He Could Be
He's nice enough to contribute blurbs to every Simmons release, though, so good for him. It's easier to come to the realization you're a hack when writing crap made you hundreds of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Corey Lidster
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not as scary as I'd hoped
Having recently begun a Dan Simmons kick (thank you, Hyperion), I was very eager to read Summer of Night. I love horror novels in general and had heard good things about this book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Canadian Girl
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I am a fan of Dan Simmons and enjoyed every book of his so far, except for this one.
The story line just didn't make much sense, the supernatural events that took place were a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by sweetmaria
4.0 out of 5 stars This Band of Brothers
I agree with many of my fellow reviewers that this work appears inspired by Stephen King (specifically The Body and It). Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2011 by Jeffrey Swystun
1.0 out of 5 stars utterly ridiculous
I will admit that the book had some decent suspense until about the halfway mark, and a couple of real hair raising situations, but I knew I was in trouble when those holes in the... Read more
Published on July 4 2004 by Clinton D. Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars is more fitting for a not so scary read
This book of Simmons comes highly touted as one the greats in the horror genre. However, the only scary parts are found in midway through the 600 page novel. Read more
Published on June 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars True terror....
Dan Simmons "Summer Night" was incredible. The suspense is tangible. It actually had me looking under the table for things that come out only at night, even though I... Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by ptiche
5.0 out of 5 stars First book that ever scared me!
I have just about every King, Koontz, Saul, Rice, Lumley, McCammon, and Barker book ever written. Ive also written a story or two of my own. Read more
Published on June 9 2004 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer of Night
Summer of night is a great book. I read it about 10 years ago. The main reason I read it is because the author is from the same small town as I. Read more
Published on May 20 2004 by Mitch stokes
5.0 out of 5 stars One scary summer in the '60's
If you were a child growing up in the 1960's this novel will certainly evoke strong memories of childhood summers filled with an innocence and freedom that has long since... Read more
Published on May 7 2004 by J. Fercho
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