Posted in Books I have read

Summer of Ghosts – P.D. Viner

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction

This is the sequel to The Last Winter of Dani Lancing and I wouldn’t recommend reading this one until you have read the first because the background to DI Tom Bevans, who loved and was desperate to catch the killer of his love Dani Lancing is all in the first book. Dani’s parents Jim and Patty feature in both novels too and as readers you see the consequences following the events in the explosive first book. Even the title is linked to the first book where Jim is comforted by Dani’s ghost, and she’s still haunting him in this episode but maybe because he misses her when she’s absent.

The book starts with Tom Bevan opening a cold case where three young girls were killed in a horrific manner. Since Tom is told he isn’t to spend time on the case he enlists the help of the Lancings who look through the files for clues, visit still grieving parents, siblings and friends trying to find the person responsible.

As well as the previously met characters one of the key protagonists in this tale is Franco, a drugs lord form Zimbabwe with a compelling back story. Franco is the man featured in the synopsis, who hears the news of his daughter’s murder over the telephone, although this event actually occurs some way into the novel. I liked Franco’s character who wasn’t your typical crime baron, being much more complex than the normal stereotype but I’m afraid I’m not a big fan of reading about gangs, and the number of henchmen and rivals all got more than a little confusing in places. Despite that I thought this part of the story was well-plotted and added some depth to the overall story. Unfortunately the two halves of the book didn’t always connect as well as they could have and although the plotting behind the serial killer was fantastic, the conclusion seemed to be rushed and this part not given the attention it deserved as it was almost swamped by Franco’s story.

Neither of the two stories were for the faint-hearted, there is a lot of violence, blood and worse. I found the ghost aspect more annoying in this book than the last, and unfortunately despite being well-written the combination of gangs and ghosts meant that I didn’t enjoy the sequel quite as much as I did the first in the series, and yes, I believe from ending there will be another outing for Tom Bevan making this a series.

If you like your thrillers with plenty of action and some original characters then P.D. Viner is an author you should try I could only admire some of the complexities of the plotting in this tale.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

6 thoughts on “Summer of Ghosts – P.D. Viner

  1. Cleo – Thanks as ever for this thoughtful review. I have to admit I may wait on this. I’m not one to like ghost elements myself, and although I can handle violence and so on if it really serves the story, I sometimes need to wait for the right time for such a novel. I appreciate such a balanced view of this.


    1. Thank you Margot, there were plenty of good elements to this one so I tried to balance that with my dislike of gangs (I don’t really understand the mentality) and ghosts which meant this didn’t strike the same chord as the first book. The violence did add to the story but it was quite descriptive which despite not bothering me I know some people would find this quite hard to read about. I think I’ll wait and see what the synopsis for the next book says before deciding whether it’s for me or not.


  2. Well, I’m with you on gangs and I wasn’t too keen on the ghostly element in book one, so I think I’ll pass on this one. I still think he has loads of potential though, and personally hope he moves on to a different series at some point – a more conventional one maybe. Another great review – thanks Cleo! 🙂


    1. Thank you. I excused the ghost in the first book and to be fair she didn’t appear too often in this one but I don’t understand gang mentality which meant I didn’t engage as much with this part. Definitely a writer with potential, the plotting was superb.


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