Bitter Sun by Beth Lewis

Bitter Sun

"Stand by Me" meets "True Detective" in this stunningly written tale of the darkness at the heart of a small mid-Western town and the four kids who uncover it. In the heatwave summer of 1971, four kids find a body by a lake and set out to solve a murder, but they dig too deep and ask too many questions. Larson is a town reeling in the wake of the Vietnam draft, where the unrelenting heat ruins the harvest, and the people teeter on the edge of rui...

Details Bitter Sun

TitleBitter Sun
Release DateJun 1st, 2018
PublisherThe Borough Press
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Crime, Fiction

Reviews Bitter Sun

  • Paromjit
    Beth Lewis writes a superb emotionally heartbreaking coming of age story depicting a ravaging picture of a small midwestern American town. Larson is struggling economically, plagued by its political intrigue and corruption, amidst the background of the Vietnam draft with the return of damaged soldiers, hard hit by ruined harvests as the unrelenting heat takes it toll, suffering from rising unemployment and suicide, beset by rumours and rampant pa...
  • Emma
    No matter the genre of fiction, small town America always seems to be portrayed as desperately, determinedly normal on the surface, while steered by unseen currents in the form of grasping, morally vacant men bent on fulfilling their own desires at any cost. Here, the discovery of a body is the first wave in a tide that engulfs the whole town, yet when the water recedes, it only highlights the embedded filth rather than washing it clean. It has a...
  • Liz Barnsley
    This book has broken me so I can't review it now.Nearer publication I will but I'll probably still be sobbing slightly. Best book I've read this year by a clear mile. Easily in contention for my no 1 spot in December and I'll actually be VERY surprised if anything beats it. I'm going to lie down now and have another good cry. Beautiful writing. Heart wrenching stuff. Highly Recommended.
  • Roman Clodia
    As long as the apple is shiny and red, it doesn't matter if it's rotten.There's almost a sub-genre of books set in a claustrophobic small town where the surface quiet hides a seething mix of secrets and lies culminating in murder - this is one of the better ones. Lewis can write: her prose is unflashy but acute, and there's an undertow of emotion that is barely restrained both in John, the narrator, and the novel itself.The four protagonists are ...
  • Jason
    I am very excited about this book! Wolf Road was amazing!!
  • Abby Slater- Fairbrother
    ‘I killed her’ Bitter Sun is a novel that begins in a heatwave of 1971 and ends in summer 1973. It takes place in the rural town of Larson and the Vietnam war and its impact on small rural communities sets the backdrop for the novel. The novel follows brother and sister John and Jenny and their childhood friends Gloria and Rudy. They discover the body of a female murder victim, which the town is quick to hush up! Too quick for John and Jenny...
  • Nicole
    Set over 3 long hot summer from 1971 in a small American town this book is so utterly addictive I could not put it down. Told from young 13 yr old Johnny Royal's view as the sanctuary of his younger sister and two best friends' clubhouse becomes the area where a girls body is found by the children. Like a car crash in slow motion you know something is bad in the town, each year sees the children's home life become worse. Indeed his sister Jenny i...
  • Katrina
    I was so impressed with Beth's debut 'The Wolf Road' that I couldn't wait to read her next book. And 'Bitter Sun' does not disappoint one iota. Another stark coming-of-age which pits 13 year old Johnny Royal and his friends into the wilderness of a small mid-Western town's politics and corruption from which no-one can emerge a winner. Happily playing in their secluded cubby, The Roost, down by Big Lake, John and his sister Jenny and best friends,...
  • Sheena
    This was a goodreads giveaway. Really enjoyed this book. I did not realise Beth Lewis had written Wolf Road which has been on my to read list for some time. The atmosphere and characters were so well written. The feeling of helplessness and dread built like the storm clouds over the three summers. We were teased by the opening and knew something dreadful was going to happen but to who and when. The small town mentality and corruption felt all too...
  • Joodith
    Small-town America in the 1970's is the setting for this novel. The four main characters are young teenagers: Johnny Royal who narrates the story, his younger sister Jenny, and their two friends rich, privileged Gloria and boy-from-bad-family Rudy. Johnny and Jenny's simgle-parent mother is an alocoholic, often violent, especially towards Jenny. Gloria never seems to see her parents and has been more or less raised by the family help, and as for ...
  • Beadyjan
    There's a simmering heat haze which surrounds this book, set in the harsh dustbowl farming communities of mid Western USA during one long hot summer heatwave in the early 1970s as Vietnam is headline news and the already fragile rural economy crumbles.Told from the aspect of 4 youngsters trying to solve a mystery, following their discovery of a womans body. This is no famous five story there's a definite Stephen King feel to the storyline which i...
  • Louise
    4.5 starsSmall town America... where everyone knows everyone,and they all have secrets.That's how this feels... feels tense and claustrophobic and prone to violence at any second.It reminded me a lot of Chris Whitakers All the wicked girls,which is no bad thing,that was one of my favourite books last year.The weather scorching hot,the priest,the small town....I cringed at some of the scenes between Jenny and her mother,but smiled at the ones with...
  • Amy
    This was a very emotional read with a lot of darkness. I did find myself frustrated with Johnny's naivety, I sort of felt like the hard life he's had should have made him grow up a bit quicker. Why did he always see the best in his mum and the pastor? I had also expected the suicide plot to be something more than it was, was it perhaps a murder? It seemed to be very brief and I couldn't grasp of they were forced into it by Bung eye or not.
  • Linda
    I am finding this book very hard going. It’s not compelling me to read it. I gave up after a few chapters but I am now trying again. It seems to take an age to get going with the story and I am thinking it is perhaps more for the American market than for the uk. I will continue to slowly battle on and if I get further I will review again.
  • Louise Mullins
    An intelligently written, beautifully impactful character-driven novel from the viewpoint of a child. I felt the middle sagged and did not hold my attention, but the final part ratcheted up a gear and from then on I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.
  • Nadia Ghanem
    Knowing the truth has weighty consequences for the four protagonists of Bitter Sun, born and raised in a close-knit community in mid-West America where silence and complicity are the bread of everyday life. The crime around which the novel is build functions like a boomerang: four children investigate a crime that no one cares about, and end up being the hunted. Bitter Sun is narrated by John who recounts how in the summer of 1971, he, his sister...