State senator Ken Callahan is beginning to think his wife, Carol, is on the verge of going crazy. Her insect phobia seems to be intensifying, and it threatens repercussions not just for him and their two young children — but also his political ambitions. He is running for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, against a tough opponent. All he needs as the campaign heats up is for Carol to lose it in some public fashion. The media would crucify him. The race would be lost.
And so beyond the usual reasons for buying a vacation home, Ken is pleased that his wife and kids can spend the summer there, away from the political spotlight. For her part, Carol envisions this beautiful old Victorian on acres of Berkshire County woods as a place to reset — to resume the promising artistic career she dropped when she became a mother, and maybe even rekindle relations with her driven husband.
But the summer place lies in the shadow of Thunder Rise, in what Carol will discover is a vortex of malevolence made worse by the mysterious doings of the long-dead previous owner, the eccentric loner Myron Valkenburgh. Something to do with insects, Carol learns, as dragonflies seem to act as sentinels and the family dog dies a terrible death in a swarm of yellow jackets... and what started as escape spirals down into dark madness that the innocent young children Caleb and Sarah instinctively sense.
Third in the Thunder Rise trilogy, Summer Place is a study in fear, paranoia, stubborn pride, and lost love — and heartless ambition ultimately destroyed by something uncontrollable and far ghostlier than a mere insect phobia.