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Slow burning mystery set on the border between Maine and Quebec

26th December 2017

The Last Summer by Andrée A Michaud, slow burning mystery set on the border between Maine and Quebec.

Slow burning mystery

The Last Summer was previously published in hardback as Boundary.

The novel is set on the border of the USA and Canada (Maine and Quebec) in 1967, in the resort of Bondrée. It’s 1967. It is the kind of rural and bucolic place that attracts regular summer holidaymakers. Yet there is a dark history here, it is a place full of legend and death, still echoing eerily as the summer unfolds. Two young girls, Zaza and Sissy are perceived as the “red and blonde Lolitas” of the Summer. Zaza however soon goes missing and the carefree holiday time turns to one of mistrust and fear.

Told through a couple of viewpoints, this is a slow-burning mystery where the setting is so much part of the story. The use of French words mixed with English gives it a rich feel. The reader can feel the cloying environment as the story unfolds which adds to the creeping pathos; the soundtracks of the Summer are Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and A Whiter Shade of Pale…

The writing is incredibly competent and it was this that kept me reading, there is clearly a lot of talent. The storyline however didn’t hook me in. I felt weirdly at times that I was watching a washing machine, with tumbling narrative and characters, and although colourful, it just kept tumbling along, glimpses of people and motives all in a gently whirling mass within different time frames. There is also a character who has the same name as the author which is a thought provoking device, although I couldn’t make up my mind quite what to make of it. The composition of the narrative felt perhaps just a little too over-worked for my taste.

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