Book Title and Author: The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison
Series: The Collector #3
Publication Date and Publisher: May 22, 2018 by Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Series, Mystery
Pages: 300 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: May 04, 2018 (e-arc)
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.
Wow, I did not expect The Summer Children to be such a fabulous conclusion to The Collector Series trilogy! Dot Hutchison is an extremely talented author and she does a phenomenal job writing chilling, horror-filled thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat. This book was most certainly a page-turner that kept me reading late into the night until the very end.
Just like Hutchison’s 2nd book, The Roses of May, book three is not a direct sequel to either book one or two. It has a completely unrelated and horrifying case for the original FBI team that we met in The Butterfly Garden to solve (now with the addition of Agent Sterling who we met in book two and now has been promoted to lead the team in book three), and the novel’s personal focus this time is on Agent Ramirez where in book one the focus was on Vic when dealing with the victims–the “Butterflies” and in book two, it was on Eddison and his relationship with Priya, the target of an insane serial killer.
This time, the story is much more personal as Agent Mercedes Ramirez comes home one night with her date to find a young boy, covered in blood, waiting for her on her front porch. He says an “angel” killed his parents while making him watch then told him Ramirez would keep him safe. This is just the beginning of abused children showing up at Ramirez’s door after the “angel” slaughters their parents and tells them Ramirez will protect them.
Not only is the new case about looking for a vigilante in the guise of an angel killing abusive parents and delivering those children to Ramirez for protection, but it’s about learning more about Ramirez and her past. Why is the angel so sure that Ramirez will keep the children safe? Is there some connection between the two woman and if so, what? These are questions that need to be answered, and Hutchison does a wonderful job keeping the reader engaged and captivated by her excellent characters and well-written story as the agents search for the answers to these questions and race to stop a killer.
While the book was a very difficult read at times with the topics of child abuse (physical and emotional), child molestation, rape, and child neglect, which of course are triggers for many, including myself, the way Hutchison focuses on the more personal and emotional side of Ramirez and how she relates to the crimes, explores her past (why she became an FBI agent and why saving children is her personal mission), and focuses on her relationship with the rest of the team, the book is not the overwhelmingly difficult read it could be.
This really is my favorite of the three books in The Collector Series, and I thought it was a perfect ending to the trilogy although I’d love to see a book four now that we have Agent Sterling in the team. I really loved her, and I want to see what happens with the storyline that Hutchison was writing for her in book three! Also, as a huge fan of The Butterfly Garden, I was so happy to see how Hutchison entwined some of those characters, along with Priya from book two, into this story. It was wonderful to see where they were today, and the ending scenes of the book with them made me cry since I felt like there was closure there for all of them…finally.
I highly recommend The Summer Children if you enjoy a suspense-filled, fast-paced, twisted, thrill ride with fantastic characters! It more than delivers, and I can’t wait to see what Hutchison writes next!
**Thank you Netgalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Dot Hutchison for this ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review. **
About the Author: Dot Hutchison