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Malignant Summer Tim Meyer Main

"Malignant Summer" Book Review

Written by Sean M. Sanford

Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing

malignant summer tim meyer poster large

Written by Tim Meyer
2021, 576 pages, Fiction
Released on May 31st, 2021

Review:

Tim Meyer does well to show us: Childhood is a trip. A shimmy short of the grasp of all fathomable, as the greys of reality take a long time to gain purchase, and an even longer time to seem sensible. High school? Pshaw. Nothing but some droll powder room for an alleged real-life when you have no idea the nature of your performance, nor even where to stand on the stage. And you missed the opening act, as the dancers and confetti made you blind to every single thing that is happening right now. But there also comes a time when a very tangible oppression starts snaking life’s roundabouts. Something you can put a face to, sometimes even a name. Something upon which you can focus all your blossoming energy to defeat. And if you can only pin that thing to the ring, you just may survive your youth.

In Tim Meyer’s Malignant Summer, three young men, amongst an onslaught of peripherals, work to survive a malevolent force that is arguably even more mysterious than puberty. The Mother of Dead Dreams. A maternal exhibition who uses the subconscious of a town’s children to flip reality on its chalky ass, and destroy mankind as we know it.

Hooperstown, New Jersey. A tightly knit hamlet where kids have little to fear beyond scraped elbows and severely broken hearts. Doug, Grady and Jesse are of a tender age, on the brink of adulthood and, even more compelling, high school. But something arguably more hair-raising than academics begins one night when they are finally able to partake in a yearly scavenger hunt put on by their school’s elders, thanks to Jesse’s brother Jimmy. That night they find themselves in a graveyard, where they discover things much more drawer-soiling than anything their rich minds had bargained for. Thus begins an outcropping of events, each zested with much more than a sprig of terror.

A long and winding road stretches out before them, riddled with secrets buried in the pages of their town’s past. They discover not only that Hooperstown’s history is full of secret and totally fucked up chapters, but that some of the people closest to them may have plucked a string or two in its chorus.

I very much enjoyed Malignant Summer. It has a vibrant cast of characters, all of whom are a pleasure joining on their journey. A few of the characters seem to be a bit classically molded, but it never gets distracting. I appreciated the way the story unfolds, adding each layer piece by piece and not allowing the reader to know much more than the three main characters throughout their sashay. I had a bit of a tough time remembering that it is supposed to be 1998, in part due to the number of cell phones mentioned. I was 16 in ’98, and the only people I knew who had cell phones back then were the dudes who I’d buy weed off of. But, shit, maybe things were different in Jersey. I also don’t recall people, especially 13-year-olds, using the word ‘literally’ as belligerently as they do today. Still, small prices to pay for a damn good story.

Overall, I had a blast reading Malignant Summer and all its psycho-trippy gore. I came to really love all the characters and felt kinda like I knew them. I noticed myself sincerely wishing some of them to succeed, and others to just suck seed. The story itself is very well thought out, and I got the impression that even the most minute of details in both the heroes and the villains is included with point and purpose. It also reminded me that I sure as shit don’t miss being 13.

Grades:

Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Sean M. Sanford
Author: Sean M. Sanford
Staff Reviewer - USA
Sean M. Sanford was born and raised in the Sierra foothills of California on a haunted ranch that was constantly trying to remind him how wonderful it is being scared shitless. He later moved to San Francisco where he currently resides in an apartment that may or may not be cursed. With so many horrific dimensions to his life, Sanford has been known to revel since birth in scary movies, novels, comic books, and tales told by friends and loved ones. He writes fiction for the skateboarding magazine Lowcard, through which he has a collection of stories and photos called A Manbaby’s Requiem. He also wrote fiction for the online periodical Defiant Scribe. He writes book reviews for Night Worms, and Horror Oasis, and has written horror movie articles for the website, The Infinite Eleven. He has an Instagram account all about books, called @skaters_who_read. He and his wife Candice have started a homemade incense company called Effin Relax, and he’s been known to burn said fragrances during the scariest of movies to help calm his nerves. He looks forward to being the most freaky and creative spirit once he’s left this mortal coil.
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