Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of publication: July 26th, 2016
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Horror, Adult Fiction
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984:
the year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio.
The year he became friends with the devil.
When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expected that he would turn up. They especially didn’t expect him to turn up a tattered and bruised thirteen-year-old boy.
Fielding, the son of Autopsy, finds the boy outside the courthouse and brings him home, and he is welcomed into the Bliss family. The Blisses believe the boy, who calls himself Sal, is a runaway from a nearby farm town. Then, as a series of strange incidents implicate Sal — and riled by the feverish heatwave baking the town from the inside out — there are some around town who start to believe that maybe Sal is exactly who he claims to be.
But whether he’s a traumatised child or the devil incarnate, Sal is certainly one strange fruit: he talks in riddles, his uncanny knowledge and understanding reaches far outside the realm of a normal child — and ultimately his eerily affecting stories of Heaven, Hell, and earth will mesmerise and enflame the entire town.
Devastatingly beautiful, The Summer That Melted Everything is a captivating story about community, redemption, and the dark places where evil really lies.
I don’t even know what to write here (which is a first) because the book was THAT good. It was written so that you couldn’t help but get sucked into it, and then you can’t put it down. As I said, it is THAT good.
I was introduced to the Bliss family in the book’s first chapter. Autopsy, Stella, Grand, Fielding, and Aunt Fedelia. Autopsy is the local prosecutor for the town of Breathed. Autopsy decided, one day, to write a letter to the devil inviting him to Breathed and posted it in the newspaper. Guess what? A young boy claiming to be the devil showed up right before a major heat wave.
This is where the story became interesting. The author kept you guessing if Sal (Satan and Lucifer’s name combined) was the devil. He had insight into the different relationships that were going on in the town that no 13-year-old should know. I never figured out if he was the devil or not.
Strange events started happening every time Sal went into town. The heat kept rising; a woman had a tragic accident, a mob was incited, and stuff along those lines. He isn’t allowed out of the yard/house to keep him safe.
The story is told in flashbacks from a 70-something-year-old Fielding. Who suffers survivor’s guilt. I don’t like it when books are told in flashbacks. You lose something from it. In this case, it worked. I got to see the long-term damage caused by the events of that awful summer/fall, which is heartbreaking. The author did a perfect job of taking older Fielding’s memories and turning them into a story about younger Fielding.
There was a huge twist in the story that I saw coming. It involved Elohim, Fielding’s former mentor and Sal’s biggest enemy in town. I did a WTF when it was revealed.
I would recommend The Summer that Melted Everything to anyone over 21. There is strong language and violence.
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