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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Freckle-faced four year old Jason Smith sits on the rooftop of his Craftsman-style home in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Jason has a lisp, a wild imagination and a knack for mischief and now he is pretending he is Batman. He jumps off the roof, a twenty-two foot drop, but he is saved by blonde and bright Caroline and Josie Snow, his eight year old twin neighbors who hold out a tablecloth and break Jason's fall. Caroline and Josie get lots of media coverage for their brave rescue. Their father Isaac is a pilot for New Mexico's forest fire patrol. Isaac and the girls' mother Sarah have a good life together. They enjoy having Isaac's longtime friend, Ruidoso's Chief of Police Charlie Biddle, for Wednesday night meals. Isaac and Sarah also enjoy having Caroline and Josie watched by Jason's mother so that they can have a night to themselves. But someone is watching Caroline and Josie, dreaming dementedly of kidnapping them. That someone is Ricky Doors who watches the girls through his binoculars as their neighborhood has lots of trees, ridges to hide in and mountains in which people can disappear. Psychotic Ricky longs to be loved by somebody and always asks his victims, "Do you like red?"
"First Night of Summer" by Landon Parham is a brilliant, suspenseful story of a pedophile and his sick, twisted desires as he targets a family whose members have only known a life that is good and has been kind to them. The suspense starts at the opening pages of this novel and continues without flaws throughout the entire story. The characters of Isaac, Sarah, Josie, Isaac's parents Tom and Helen, Charlie Biddle, and all the other major and minor characters in "First Night of Summer" contribute significantly from the moment they are introduced into the storyline. The author uses original mechanics in his writing: for instance, Ricky has himself wheelchair bound to entice one of his victims. There are stories of suspense galore but "First Night of Summer" is head and shoulders above them all. It is a must read for anyone and everyone!