Summer 1983: A family drama starts when four-year-old Billy chases a rabbit in the garden behind his house. When his mother goes looking for him, he has disappeared. Never to be seen again.
Today: Veronica is a bereavement counsellor. She’s never fully come to terms with her mother’s suicide after her brother Billy’s disappearance. When a young man walks into her therapy group, he looks familiar and talks about the trauma of his friend’s disappearance in 1983. Could Billy still be alive after all this time? Needing to know the truth, Veronica goes home – to the place where her life started to fall apart. Is she prepared for the answers that wait for her there?
End of Summer is the first stand-alone novel by former police officer Anders de la Motte – and quite different from his previous books. In 2010 de la Motte started his Game trilogy, where a suspenseful Internet game soon blurs the line between fiction and reality. What at first seemed like an innocent contest turns out to be something much more unpleasant. Later de la Motte wrote two books in his David Sarac series, which falls more into the thriller category. And now he brings us a psychological drama set in a rural small town environment.
The story takes place in the fictional village of Reftinge, which is modelled after the small village Billesholm in southern Sweden, where the author himself grew up. The first thirty chapters alternate between the present (2003) and those summer days in 1983, when the search for little Billy engaged the whole village. The author has really succeeded in recreating the atmosphere of a close-knit agricultural community, where everyone knows each other. It is an environment where old loyalties, old feuds and local power bases cannot easily be ignored.
The story is a bit slow in the beginning, but when Veronica goes back to Reftinge and starts asking questions it soon becomes a page-turner. Anders de la Motte has written a truly gripping story of family secrets with a suspenseful plot, strong characters and great atmospheric setting.