The Summer Children
by Dot Hutchison
Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date : May 22, 2018
Pages : 300
Synopsis from Publisher :
This FBI agent has come to expect almost anything—just not this…
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.
Discovering a new series is always exciting for me. I am always on the lookout for my new
favorite lead character. More than likely, the character is a troubled, disgruntled, and disliked
detective. The Collector trilogy offered me not one, not two, not three, but several new favorite
lead characters. In the final book of the trilogy, The Summer Children, Hutchison concludes the
story of a group of damaged and heart broken people who have been dealt some the cruelest of
circumstances. In spite of each characters troubled background they have survived, found each
other, and are dedicated to supporting one another and every victim of a tragedy they meet.
FBI Agent Mercedes Ramirez returns home late and finds a child on her front porch. The boy’s
clothes are soaked in his parent’s blood and he claims an “angel” brought him to Agent Ramirez
to keep him safe. More children begin to show up at Ramirez’s home, each child covered in the
blood of their parents and looking to Ramirez for answers and the safety the “angel” promised.
During the investigation Ramirez is forced to recall her own painful past while trying to catch a
killer determined to act out their own version of justice.
During her ten years with the FBI, Agent Ramirez has rescued many children from terrible
circumstances. She works in the Crimes Against Children (CAC) division. Over the course of her
career she seen the worst humanity has to offer. Ramirez has also experienced personally the
actions of the worst of humanity. Each of her team members has their own reasons for joining
CAC, Ramirez’s reason for joining is to protect the children who are victims of crime. Her
dedication to the victims is what stands out throughout The Summer Children. During the
investigation, not only is Ramirez’s career on the line but also her mental state. Nevertheless,
Ramirez does not hesitate to do all she can to help each child who crosses her path. Hutchison
has created a hero, who constantly dives into oceans filled with terror and unspeakable horror
and has no fear of drowning.
Although this review is for The Summer Children I absolutely have to mention the previous
books in the trilogy, The Butterfly Garden and The Roses of May. The most enjoyable aspect of
this series is how each book is so different. The Butterfly Garden is a story of a man who
collected young women over a thirty year span and keeps them hidden from the world within a
large garden connected to his home. The story is told from the perspective of Inara, who has
just been rescued from the garden. The Roses of May is the story of Priya, whose older sister
was murdered by a serial killer, and she is now being threatened by the same killer. Lastly The
Summer Children, is the story of one of the FBI Agents featured in both The Butterfly Garden
and The Roses of May.
This is the first series I have read where the perspective and story line differs so much from book
to book. Not only did I experience twists and turns throughout the story, but just starting the next
book in the series adds mystery to the trilogy as you try to connect the new characters to the
characters in the previous books. For this reason I encourage readers to read the first two
books of series before starting The Summer Children. The Summer Children can be read as a
standalone. Hutchinson provides readers with enough background info, but the way Hutchison
reintroduces the characters from the previous books into the latest book is so original and for
me is the best part of the series.
Throughout the series, readers get glimpses into the backgrounds of all of agents in the CAC. In
The Summer Children Hutchison focuses solely on Agent Mercedes Ramirez. I was happy to
read more about Ramirez’s history. When I read the first two books in the series, of all the
agents, I felt Ramirez was the most unknown.
After reading The Butterfly Garden and The Roses of May, readers will have basically figured
out why Ramirez’s team mates joined the FBI and the CAC. I knew Ramirez had a troubled past
but specific details were not given. To finally get to know Ramirez and learn what motivates her,
was great. I know the series is a trilogy but I really hope Hutchinson gives us the chance to get
to know each of CAC Agents as well as I now know Ramirez.
I must warn any reader who may be sensitive to stories which portray abuse against children.
Some of the descriptions are pretty graphic. I highly recommend all the books in The Collector
trilogy to any reader looking for a fast paced, thrilling, binge worthy, read full of grit and emotion.
**Thanks to Netgally and Thomas & Mercer for my free copy of The Summer Children**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars