Book Reviews

Review: Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I picked up Summer Sons. Someone may have mentioned a Southern Gothic Horror with fantasy elements? Either way, I was here for it! But what I discovered is that it’s a story about questions and murder. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

While I was expecting all supernatural fantasy with Summer Sons, the book I read ended up being more focused on character development, questioning, and the murder mystery. And I was not mad about that at all. It delves into the pain and twisted feelings of grief, of loss, and being left. Summer Sons is an emotional book that steeps us in anger, frustration, and sadness. It begins with unanswered questions on every front. On who killed Eddie, on what their relationship was, and on who Andrew is going to be.

I’m not saying there isn’t a supernatural element. There is. It just might not be as pronounced as you might be expecting. But through the fantastical, Andrew is thrust into the mystery of what happened, is haunted by the mysteries without answers. Andrew’s journey of unpacking his toxic masculinity, of questioning his queerness, is emotional on a whole other level. And because of that, Andrew is almost surrounded by this maelstrom of confusion within himself and unanswered questions surrounding Eddie’s death.

I was also able to listen to Summer Sons on audio book. This transformed the experience of being haunted to another level. Damron was able to so thoroughly convey Andrew’s swirling emotions. All of the tension, unanswered silences, and confusion in his thoughts and voice. As listeners, we can feel Andrew’s fear, his pain, and his regret. Summer Sons explores the holes people leave behind. The people we become in our grief. What their loss reveals about us.


(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Summer Sons is perfect for fall. It’s definitely a must read for those searching for a queer fantastical murder mystery. At the same time, it’s also for those who enjoy explorations of characters. About having to sit with our own tenuous and conflicting feelings of loss. Of seeing people’s flaws, our relationships for what they were. Find Summer Sons on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound,, Google Play, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite queer fantasy?

Share this post

2 thoughts on “Review: Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.