Glenn Rolfe’s UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND is an all-consuming, 1980s coming-of-age, nostalgic, vampire extravaganza of a story. I “summer breezed” right on through this entire book, and much like the vampires in this story, I was bloodthirsty for more.
I love the description in the synopsis: “When fifteen-year-old Rocky Zukas meets a mysterious dark-haired girl named November, his world is forever changed.” HOOKED. November has a family secret, and unfortunately for Rocky, he is under the spell of young love.
Every detail from the beach setting atmosphere to the 1980s summer teenage love story, to the blood-lusting vampires is exactly what I needed right now. Rolfe does a perfect job building these characters brick by brick and crafting a brilliant vampire story without going over-the-top. Did I mention I love it?! The carnival beach town, music, video games, and innocence (well vampire innocence) are just so RAD. I think I might need to watch the movie The Lost Boys again because this has those vibes. It’s oozing with nostalgia, dead bodies, and blood addled vampires. The kill scenes are brutal and blood-soaked. Gnarly. Righteous.
UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND is a perfectly executed story with a delicate balance of blood and love. Let’s just say I’m a fan of Mr. Rolfe and cannot wait for the next one.
Allow me to preface this with a little full disclosure: I am a fan of Glenn Rolfe, have been for a little while as his fiction, for the most part, clicks with me (one novel still needs a reread in its final form.) We’ve also been social-buddies for a handful of years. Since my first Rolfe read, The Haunted Halls. So my opinions could be considered a bit biased, and that’s ok. I’ve long said that I an not a critic, I am a fan. An author has already won me over when I crack that spine. At which point I can only be lost. With that being said, Until Summer Comes Around is my favorite Glenn Rolfe Horror since Blood and Rain (my go-to GRH recommendation,) and it is quite nice to have Glenn back in my TBR line-up.
Set in an idyllic North Eastern summer tourist destination, young Rocky finds the bite of first love... and a different kind of bite altogether as he comes of age, sees the world in a different light, and loses a bit of innocence. All under the hypnotic glow of the midway neon.
Coming-of-age yarns are addictive by nature. They remind us of the glamour and excitement of our youth, long before we’ve hit or fallen well past our prime (speaking for myself only, you all are still gorgeous, wink.) They remind us of a time when anything was possible. So, take that sub-genre, wrap it in an amusement park setting (ala Adventureland) and spice it up with some gritty Near Dark-ish style nomads and you’ve got me in your back pocket. I belong to you, whisk me away.
And Glenn does just that. For eight-ish hours or so I was in that north-eastern town, catching some rays, watching some coeds. Killing time on the rides waiting for sundown. Feeling youthful again, if but for a moment. It’s a little pinch of magic.
What can I say though? I dig Rolfe’s style, I relate to his characters. The music his populace listens to is the music I listen/ listened to. They speak how I speak. Odd, imaginative. Outcast by nature, but not on purpose. I knew this going in. I am a Glenn Rolfe Horror... you know, without the creatures.
Until Summer Comes Around by Glenn Rolfe, entertainment value, 4.5/5
Zakk Madness is a 40 something horror nerd and yo-yo enthusiast. Not a critic, but a fan of horror fiction. Former reviewer for The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow, he currently reviews as The Eyes of Madness. When this chaotic life is keeping him from reading he is spending what free time he has with his wife and their three sons. @zakk.madness
My first and most definitely not my last of Rolfe. What an absolute fun read dealing with first loves, vampires, and a summer you can't quite forget. As the dedication says, "For all the Lost Boys out there. Thou shalt not fall." There are definitely some Lost Boys feels within this read but it's also unique in telling November and Rocky's story.
First off, how can you not fall in love with Rocky? With his back brace and gung ho attitude, you go through the gauntlet of emotions he endures. I love that this takes place in 1986, the music, to the fair to the back braces - transports me to my childhood (albeit mine was sans vampires... that I know of). I surely hope she finally got to listen to the Theatre of Pain album (my favorite from Motley Crue). If you were an 80's kid, this read will give you all the homesickness of that era.
I love the nostalgia and how this is more than just a vampire story. We get layers with the coming of age-ish tales from both sides. Do you remember what was so important to you when you were in high school and had those summer plans? Do you remember that first love feeling? *Sigh*
I appreciate the correction in the acknowledgments re when King's IT was released - I found this to be an adorable note. Horror lovers, this is probably a bit on the light side of horror and is an absolutely fantastic read. I would highly recommend it.
Chandra blogs over at:
Glenn Rolfe is a recent discovery for me, my introduction to the author was the new re-release of the modern werewolf classic, Blood and Rain. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that he has joined Flametree Press, one of my favorite publishers, for his newest novel, Until Summer Comes Around.
Rocky Zukas is in a bit of a bind. His best friend and cousin Axel is going away for the summer, leaving Rocky to enjoy the season at the beautiful Old Orchard Beach by himself. Things quickly go on an upturn for Rocky as he meets a summer vacationer named November. The summer of love threatens to become the summer of blood because something sinister has come to Old Orchard Beach, something thirsty.
Fans of Rolfe may think that they know what to expect with his latest offering, but as someone who’s been reading his whole back catalog very recently, I’m pleasantly surprised that Until Summer Comes Around has exceeded those expectations. I don’t typically mention author acknowledgments in my review, but there is one here where the author thanked Tim Waggoner for advice on outlining a story. Why is that relevant to this review? Whatever advice Waggoner shared seems to have paid off in spades because of all of the Rolfe titles I’ve read, this is far and away the tightest, most cohesive novel that Rolfe has written. Pages aren’t wasted here, everything serves the story, and there is an excellent job of building the characters and putting you smack dab in the middle of the 1980’s Old Orchard Beach. I’ve been to Old Orchard Beach a few times, and Rolfe brought me right back.
The book spends the early chapters setting the scene, doing some world-building, and developing the characters. There’s some bloodshed early on, but as the story unfolds everything escalates and there’s some real tension leading up to the ultimately satisfying conclusion.
Until Summer Comes Around, much like Rolfe’s previous title, The Window, is a coming of age tale. I know some people found the gratuitous sex in the previous offering to be too much, I’d still recommend giving this one a try as the sex here is toned down.
After finishing Until Summer Comes Around, I’ve decided that this is easily my favorite Glenn Rolfe book. Some may disagree, they may be more nostalgic for a title such as the excellent blood and rain. Having just discovered the author recently, the nostalgia flew over my head. There’s no denying that Rolfe’s writing here is the best it’s ever been. I’d recommend this to anybody.
Glenn Rolfe and Flametree press have teamed up for a title that I’d not only rank as Rolfe’s best, but I’d also rank it amongst my other favorite Flametree Press titles
This was my first time reading Glenn Rolfe's work and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Until Summer Comes Around had a fresh perspective on vampires that I found incredibly interesting. Glenn Rolfe writes of the vampire affliction and it read more of addiction horror than occult as the publisher indicates. What was really cool was that this book had all the slasher feels. Don't expect to make it out of this story alive if you can't follow the rules of surviving a horror movie. I've read a lot of reviews on this book and most people like to talk about the 80's nostalgia which is great but I feel I need to mention how easy this was to read. I flew through this book very quickly. It had a lot to do with Rolfe's writing style but the way the book is formatted certainly helped as well. This book is the perfect summer read for anyone seeking a toothsome vampire tale with everything a horror-loving heathen like myself desires.
I rated Until Summer Comes Around by Glenn Rolfe 5/5 stars. This 80's throwback coming-of-age story will certainly satisfy your thirst for a grisly vampire tale. I think this is only the beginning for Glenn Rolfe and although he has become a fan favorite in the horror community because of his earlier novels The Window and Blood and Rain. I feel this book is just a taste of what is to come and I cannot wait to see where he takes readers next!