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Summary

Lee Mandelo's debut Summer Sons is a sweltering queer Southern Gothic that crosses Appalachian street racing with academic intrigue, all haunted by a hungry ghost.

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom that hungers for him.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers to possess him.

A Macmillan Audio production from Tordotcom

©2021 Lee Mandelo (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"Summer Sons is a southern summer in book form: hot and hungry and haunting. I couldn't put it down." —Alix E. Harrow

"Truly intense: you can smell the blood, the sweat, and the petrol. It absolutely rips." —Tamsyn Muir

"At once a raw, beautifully written gothic and an adrenaline-fueled debut, Summer Sons heralds a rich new voice in speculative fiction. Lee Mandelo is for real." —Andy Davidson

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    4 out of 5 stars

A fun horror

I really loved the characters and Andrew's growth and it ended in a satisfying arc.
Some aspects I found a tad predictable but I still enjoyed it.
The Voice Actor, Lee Mandelo does a stunning job at bringing this story to life.

I took a risk in trying out this book as I haven't found much success in finding any good LGBT Horror books but I was not disappointed.

I'm not much of a writer but I feel inspired to write my own story having read this.

Highly recommend

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Awesome, intense and deliciously dark

Incredible book, very original plot and beautifully built characters. Lee has an incredible writing style that is dark and intense but brings the characters and story to life in the most gripping way. I love how hopeful and real the story is. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the characters. The narration and performance of Will Damron is outstanding. Highly recommended read from an author who has so much potential for future works.

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  • Blayne
  • 04-10-21

A surprise of the best variety!

I wasn't sure about this book in the beginning. It was engrossing and written in such a way as to immerse the reader in the scenes as if they were living it themselves, touching all 5 senses at the perfect moments, more so than any of the books I have read recently.

I struggled in the beginning because the plot is the very definition of slow burn and the author builds the story bit by bit leaving pieces of the story for you to follow like frustrating bread crumbs. Because it was so well written I kept listening until the pieces slowly came into focus (as intended I'm sure) and it was well worth it. The narrator was well chosen. He made it easy to distinguish between characters and to follow the story as it unfolded while never distracting from the plot by using only the changes in pitch, volume and emotion that were called for and no more.

The author has combined bitter sweet romance, mystery and spine tingling spookiness in just the right quantities to create a story that comes to life all around you. The characters are believably realistic, flawed and equal amounts endearing and l irritating and unlike far too many M/M novels the focus is on the telling of the story and not rushed relationships or one sex scene after another (though what risque tidbits there are will leave you hot and bothered in all the best ways). It also managed to really and truly give me the creeps which is no easy feat.

It's's well worth the read/listen and I can't wait to see what else the author has written so I can add it to my collection. I highly recommend experiencing it for yourself. I can't imagine anyone regretting it.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ric
  • 27-10-21

Good Story Good Horror

Andrew the protagonist, not so sweet
Sam is a hero to everybody. Riley character just great. Fabulous portrayal of young humanity at it's finest. Narration is fantastic.

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  • Samantha Heck
  • 08-10-21

Visceral and engaging

This book was AMAZING. Pulls you in right from the start with unbelievably rich prose.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Darius
  • 09-05-22

Amazing and tantalizing start to finish

I loved this story! I had just finished another series and picked this up to try something new. The pacing of the plot, character growth, and mood had me enthralled and literally screaming by chapter 26. I’ve already told all my friends about it and hope there will be more! <3

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sam Stark
  • 22-04-22

Queer Southern Gothic At It's Finest

I’ve seen this novel compared to Maggie Stiefvater’s “Raven Cycle” series a few times and I agree. There are many, many elements of this story that mirror and compliment that one. However, it must be said that this book is far more adult and far less whimsical.

But trust me, that’s a good thing. Seriously, read this book.

This story is about grieving. Bottom line. The pain Andrew is going through after losing his best friend Eddie is visceral. If you’ve experienced loss of a loved one, some of this will be hard to get through because it will cut a very deep and familiar path through your heart. Compound that with the anxiety of coming into your sexuality and coming out? It’s a powder keg of raw, real shit. And I’m so here for it.

If you’re not a fan of slow burns, then you should probably get out now. This story’s pace is edging at its finest. Masterfully holding on to its tension and keeping us from any kind of respite or relief for so long that when it all starts to finally unravel It. Is. Exquisite.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

Will Damron is an incredible narrator and I will absolutely be looking for other things he has narrated. Surperb job.

A few extra thoughts: The horror elements are subtle at first but unlike the slow burn of the story, they amp up pretty quickly. There’s a fair amount of gore, especially toward the end, but nothing so traumatizing it needs mentioning. That being said, I should put a warning for suicide and suicidal themes here. Please proceed with caution if this is something that triggers you.

There are also heavy sexual themes, and yes, there is sex (fist pump). It’s not overly graphic, but it’s not a fade to black either. The romance element of this story is a bit in the background but at the same time, it’s one of the main cogs driving things forward. You’ll understand once you read it. It’s excellent, trust me.

And last, but certainly not least, I am ecstatic over the trans representation. Thank you, Lee Mandelo for writing a major character who is trans but not having their “transness” be their defining feature.

In closing: Read This Fucking Book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jackson
  • 03-11-21

excellently creepy

I was very pleased to find some paranormal fun reading in the LGBT category that is actual fiction. It's not a romance novel, even if there are people who are romantically involved. I listened to it while camping and nearly gave myself about 8 heart attacks. The relationships are interesting and the plot is very creative. The university campus shenanigans feel so real. The end is satisfying, which I require because real life isn't always that way. Awesome book!

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  • Catherine J. Cole
  • 14-07-22

Ghosts, Longing, and Powerful Engines

Got the gothic right. Lush storytelling, murder mystery, despair, pain, longing, and ghosts. Thrilling story with a southern flavor and powerful engines. Good narration. Turning accents on and off so quickly is no easy task.

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  • katherine presley
  • 23-05-22

Southern gothic/ redneck noir

oh. my. God.

this book is amazing. fans of The Raven Cycle and These Violent Delights, buckle in. this book has boys in fast cars, queer representation, found family, belligerent acquaintances to lovers, sexy times, coming of age and coming out, magic, ghosts, murder mystery and blood curses. this story is compelling and so. well. written. mandelo will keep you guessing and engaged.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-05-22

Amazing book

This book was amazing, although I felt the story was drug out a little longer than I would have liked. The characters and plot though kept me coming back!

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  • Kindlephile
  • 07-03-22

DIDN'T ENJOY THIS NOVEL.

Am definitely not interested in reading any more books or audiobooks by this author.