The Summer Children (The Collector #3) by Dot Hutchison
To be published by Thomas & Mercer on May 21, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 4.25 (as of 2018-05-21)
cw: sexual assault, pedophilia, domestic abuse, drug use, pretty much everything related to that
Spoiler-free Review of an ARC Provided by the Publisher
When Agent Mercedes Ramirez finds an abused young boy on her porch, covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear, she has no idea that this is just the beginning. He tells her a chilling tale: an angel killed his parents and then brought him here so Mercedes could keep him safe.
His parents weren’t just murdered. It was a slaughter—a rage kill like no one on the Crimes Against Children team had seen before. But they’re going to see it again. An avenging angel is meting out savage justice, and she’s far from through.
One by one, more children arrive at Mercedes’s door with the same horror story. Each one a traumatized survivor of an abusive home. Each one chafing at Mercedes’s own scars from the past. And each one taking its toll on her life and career.
Now, as the investigation draws her deeper into the dark, Mercedes is beginning to fear that if this case doesn’t destroy her, her memories might.
(My review for The Roses of May (The Collector #2) can be found here.)
As with The Roses of May, I avoided reading any kind of plot summary beforehand, because I was positive I would like whatever Dot had in mind for the third installment of the series. I was so excited when I realized we finally get a book centering around the POV of Mercedes, who until now has been more of a side character. Mercedes is a queer latinx woman who, it is revealed, has dealt firsthand with abuse in her past.
If you were afraid of something in the light, wasn’t it just good sense to be more afraid of it in the dark?
Again, as with the last book, this could be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading the entire series in order to provide a better context for everything going on and so you won’t have to worry about spoiling the first two for yourself. A lot of the character interactions probably won’t make sense without the background.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was scared of angels.
Then she met one, and she wasn’t afraid anymore.
My only issue with this book is really the interpersonal relationships between the characters. I think a significant amount of people took issue with this in the last book and while it didn’t bother me at the time, it stuck out to me a lot more with this one. It got to the point where it kind of ruined my suspension of disbelief. Obviously I don’t know much about the inner workings of the FBI, and within the story the characters do emphasize that this isn’t necessarily normal, but the kinds of relationships you see here just seem kind of unprofessional and unrealistic.
Besides that, I did find the book highly enjoyable (although that’s a weird word for this kind of story) and a quick read. I haven’t looked at any reviews yet, so I’m not sure what criticisms are out there, but I’m sure some people will accuse this of being “torture porn” and I can’t really fault them for that, but it’s kind of the theme of these books. I’ll also add that while I originally rated the second book highly, I do think it would fall more flat for me on a second read. I think that this one comes far closer to the first book in terms of quality, although I still prefer the first.
If you enjoyed the first two books in this series, then I definitely recommend The Summer Children!