SCAVENGER SUMMER by Steven Savile (Horrific Tales Publishing, April 16, 2020) Hardcover, 128 pages. ISBN-10: 1910283258 ISBN-13: 978-1910283257 Kindle edition ASIN # B0838K7FCS
It’s the summer of 1986, and a pleasant family vacation that promised beach-combing, swimming and skinny dippy, amusement arcades, and first loves delivers something unexpected and dreadful.
I love a good opening line that immediately creates curiosity and interest and pulls me right into the story. As soon as I read it, I wanted to read the entire first chapter.
For opening sentences, this one is hard to beat: “I was fifteen when I found my mother’s body washed up on the beach.”
Scavenger Summer is so much more than a simple murder tale. It’s a horror story first and foremost, as well as a carefully crafted coming-of-age memoir that handles youthful relationships, awkward first sexual experiences, friendships, family, obsession with ’80’s music, suspicion of adults, decision-making and responsibility.
I was reminded of Invasion of The Body Snatchers, Stand By Me, and some Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes.
Young Danny only wanted to have a pleasant holiday with family in a rented chalet near Ayr Beach in Scotland. What happens in just a few days changes his life forever.
Savile keeps the story moving along at a rapid clip and seamlessly transports readers through the changes in content, from sharing fun memories to being isolated by real danger to darker themes and a maddening and disturbing ending. He even mixes in a sly jab at the evils of the fossil fuel industry.