CHILL OF SUMMER by Carol Brennan


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 Actress Emily Silver's summer at her late grandmother's place in Dutchess County starts with a bang when, during a power outage, she discovers a dead body in the basement freezer. It's an unnecessary bang--a blemish in an otherwise accomplished tale- -because the flashback showing the events leading up to this shocker starts with its own bang: Emily's discovery, on first arriving at Orchards in retreat from her lover Dev Hannagan, of neighboring teen Clea Held disporting herself in a dewy afterglow in one of the canopied beds. Clea's is only the first of many couplings in a fiercely exhaustive sexual roundelay that will come to include Clea's stuffy father, Barnet Held; her cousin, sizzling handyman Chris Held; Chris's business partner, decorator Benzinger; Emily's childhood friend Ariane Warburton; and Ariane's husband, lecherous YA author Zach Terman. As for Emily herself, why should she miss the fun? She'll be caught in flagrante by Dev's blowhard father. Miraculously, Brennan (In the Dark, 1994, etc.) manages to give the nonstop round of musical beds just the right combination of plangency and compassion; by the time she sees fit to reveal the identity of the refrigerated corpse, you'll be hopelessly seduced by the attractive, compulsively rutting cast. A surprisingly successful attempt to mingle updated Shakespearean comedy with murder most foul.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1995
ISBN: 0-399-14058-1
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995


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