The Summer Children — Dot Hutchison (ARC Review)

May 19, 2018

The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison

TITLE: The Summer Children
AUTHOR: Dot Hutchison
SERIES: The Collector, #3
RELEASES: May 22nd, 2018; Thomas & Mercer
GENRE: Thriller
SYNOPSIS: 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.


I have positively adored this entire trilogy so much, and this was the perfect conclusion, even if I am sad to see it draw to a close. While the books do not follow the exact same plot line and probably could be read as stand-alones if you so desired, I do strongly recommend reading them in their publication order!


Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was afraid of change. She went out bravely into the world anyway.

If you’ve read these books before, you may remember that book 1 centered on Vic, and book 2 centered on Eddison; in book 3, we finally get to see things through the eyes of Mercedes Ramirez, the 3rd FBI agent in the original trio. Not only do we get to spend more time with the gang, we also get to know Agent Sterling much better, as the events in book 2 led to her being promoted to join the team in book 3. With that backstory out of the way, let me say that—while I love Vic and Eddison to no end—Ramirez had my single favorite perspective of each of the books.

If you were afraid of something in the light, wasn’t it just good sense to be more afraid of it in the dark?

Mercedes Ramirez has been an FBI agent for nearly a decade, but we didn’t learn much about her in the first two installments, aside from the fact that she is Latinx, a lesbian, and has a very personal stake in the business of saving children from their assailants and abductors. In this book, we slowly get to piece together why Ramirez’s job means so much to her—aside from just the comfort of knowing she saved these poor kids—and it’s a rough ride, but a worthwhile one.

It’s one of his gifts: let me distract you, let me fill the silence for you, until you decide there’s something you need to say.

We also get to see a brand new side of Eddison, which I loved; through Vic’s POV, he’s the team clown, and through his own POV, he’s a very serious, older-brother type, but through Ramirez’s eyes, we find the true Eddison, which is something right in the middle. He’s so caring and a total teddy bear, but he’s also fiercely protective, and I loved getting to know him more.

I suppose if you’re the guardian at the gates for a dragon, you can’t help but be pleased when she roars.

I also was delighted to see Sterling come into her own as a character, though it made me a little bit sad that, so far, this is confirmed to be the final book, because now I can’t help but want Sterling to get a POV in a 4th book, too! She’s such a delight and is absolutely brilliant while subverting a tremendous number of gender roles and expectations, and I thought she was a stellar addition to the team.

“I honestly don’t know if you’ve seen Vic when he’s about to rain down fire and destruction.”

Of course, last but not least is Vic, who has taken on a management role but is still incredibly hands-on and more than capable of taking care of his agents, who are practically his kids in every sense but the biological one. He’s always been my favorite because I’m a sucker for the “father” figures in heavy books like this, and he plays the spot perfectly.

In the same breath that people abhor those who break the law, they also love vigilantes with an appealing cause.

As with the first two books, trigger warnings are heavy-handed for this story: sexual assault, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, child abuse, child death, the list goes on. It’s a tough one to read at times, but the exchanges in between with the agents leaning on one another for support are enough to keep it from feeling overwhelming most of the time. The action never stops, and as someone who is finicky about my thrillers and typically doesn’t like crime thrillers at all, I don’t say this lightly: Dot Hutchison weaves the perfect balance of action, suspense, mystery, and character development to always keep my interest. At this point, I’d read anything she releases, and I cannot recommend this series highly enough!

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Thomas & Mercer for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!



More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

Leave a comment
    1. I liked the Butterfly Garden a lot and this is one of those series i want to continue.
      I really like the idea that the author picks a different main character from the cast for each book. Kinda reminds me of what Linwood Barclay did in the Promise Falls trilogy and it was so cool!
      Sounds like this book is similarly dark and creepy to the first one <3
      Great review!

      1. Yaaaay, I hope you do get to continue it! Yes, it definitely have some dark and creepy vibes – especially just the idea of these poor children showing up on her doorstep covered in blood. It’s a hell of a visual! I’ve never read anything by Linwood Barclay, but I LOVE when authors do that with their characters so I might have to check out that series. Do you recommend it? 🙂

        1. I would! He’s one of my favourites.
          But i understand if it’s not for everyone. He writes thrillers / mysteries and there’s usually a private investigator or a police detective involved. But he does characters and atmosphere so well.

          1. Awesome! I’m honestly really picky about thrillers, especially crime thrillers, but I loved this series so much that sometimes I feel like I really need to give the genre a better chance!

    1. This sounds like a series that I really need to start reading! I love the perfect mix and I like them a bit more hard-hitting so definitely on my wishlist. Great review!

    1. This series sounds great and I definitely will check it out! P

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