“Something seems to have gone wrong with my dying. A small, bright thread of a story weaves out from the moment of my passing and seems to tether me to this place. Perhaps this is why I have not left yet. Perhaps I have no choice but to follow the story to its end.”
A powerful tale of secrets and loss, Black Dog Summer begins with a murder, a farmstead massacre, in the South African bush. Thirty-eight-year-old Sally is but one of the victims. Her life brutally cut short, she narrates from her vantage point in the afterlife and watches Gigi, her teenage daughter, move in with her Aunt’s dysfunctional family.
Gigi is unable to see beyond her deep grief and guilt, while others become more confused and frightened by the violent energy stirred up and awakened by the massacre. Little does the family know, the darkness lingers and there’s an impending danger that could destroy the lives of all who were left behind.
Black Dog Summer is the debut novel from Miranda Sherry. It is well-written, suspenseful, and I found it difficult to put down. Sherry really drew me into the story and successfully created a feeling of "needing to know" what had happened, both with the massacre and in the family history. The characters were well-developed, and their relationships compelling.
A secondary, but connected storyline centres on a mysterious next door neighbour, who has a special connection to the afterlife. She becomes an important player in the unfolding drama surrounding Gigi and her new family.
My only quibble with the novel - I felt Sherry moved too quickly into the climax. It's difficult to explain without giving too much away, but I did have a "where did that come from?" moment and maybe needed a little more foreshadowing. But, that should not take away from Sherry's overall accomplishment here. She has woven a compelling story, with great characters, suspense, and a suitably exciting ending. I definitely recommend!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary early release copy of this book for review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. This post includes an affiliate link.