Who doesn’t love summer? Long, lazy days. Warm, candlelit nights. Barbecues. Pretty plants in pots. Flip flops and shorts. In cities and suburbs across Middle America, this carefree time of year kicks off on Memorial Day with the opening of the neighborhood Summer Club. For three months, club members come together to party, drink, swim, bask in the sun, play tennis and watch their kids compete. It all ends with a festive bash on Labor Day. Then, the pool is drained, the chairs are stacked, and the gates are locked. Summer is over.
That day can’t come soon enough for Lydia Phillips. Strong, confident and the quintessential volunteer, the journalist-turned-stay-at-home-mom is still trying to fill the void from her high-energy job as an editor at the local newspaper. But she’s pushed to max as president of the rundown, suburban Meadow Glen Swim and Tennis Club, complete with a leaky pool, cracked courts and a junk food emporium run by a stoned aging hippie who may have more than candy and corndogs in mind.
The petty complaining, mishaps and messes, power plays and a lawsuit that could shutter the club for good keep Lydia awake at night, distracting her from her husband and twin teenage boys. Yet, it’s a series of bizarre, suspicious and increasingly troubling incidents that push her toward the edge and make this a summer unlike any other.
Lydia’s husband, Bill, doesn’t share her passion for volunteer work. After imploring Lydia not to take on the role of club president and instead get a “real job,” Bill doesn’t hide his unhappiness that her all-consuming responsibilities at the club have ruined the family’s summer. A consummate foodie, Bill redeems himself with his wry sense of humor and gourmet meals that keep the home fires burning. Think gruyere cheese omelets with herbs de Provence. Crepes dripping with butter and powdered sugar. Succulent roasted chicken with fennel and the bounty from Bill’s vegetable garden…
Not to be left out of the family dynamic is Stacie, the beloved, but very spoiled and naughty, Phillips family dog who is Lydia’s steadfast companion through the season’s trials and tribulations. Despite Stacie’s dreadful behavior, Lydia loves her unconditionally and, in fact, can’t survive the summer without her.
How bad does it get? The list seems endless. Poop in the pool. Sex-capades. A syrupy flood in the snack bar. Drunken soirees planned by the club’s sexy queen of cocktails, who always looks amazing in perfectly appointed outfits that accentuate her bought-and-paid-for body.
These shenanigans and more are carried out by a parade of personalities who have come together in a perfect summer storm. There are the club bullies:
The slimy, combative, and bigoted club treasurer who spends no time at the club, yet curiously insists on having a key to the grounds;
The self-aggrandizing, beer-guzzling Swim chair who struts around the pool deck showing off his bulging muscles, barking orders and running swim meets by firing off a pistol;
A loud, win-at-all-costs tennis player who has no problem making questionable line calls but takes a “boys will be boys” attitude when her three bratty kids consistently mark their territory on the playground.
And the high-maintenance whiners:
An overly dramatic, sanctimonious helicopter mom who thinks her girls don’t need to conform to the swim and tennis team rules because, of course, they’re gifted;
The neurotic swim team mom who makes a scene at every meet, certain her daughter is being cheated out of first place;
A disgruntled male member who cries discrimination over the ladies book night.
Despite the ongoing dysfunction, Meadow Glen does have a few things going for it, notably the club manager, Pete Merrick. After making millions as a Wall Street investment banker, Pete took early retirement and is now pursuing his true passion: teaching advanced high school math and economics. He fills his summers managing the club, which he’s slowly but surely turning around by building up the programs, hiring competent staff and keeping the pool operating better than it has in years. However, his summertime gig is clouded by strange goings-on at the club—and the realization that someone is watching him.
A break-in at Lydia’s home and a startling discovery on the club grounds raise the stakes even higher. When a body surfaces in the river, the newspaper reporter in Lydia begins to suspect these events are somehow connected.
As daily chaos rages on at Meadow Glen, Lydia is unable to resist the urge to follow her instincts that something dark and insidious is indeed afoot. Before long, she becomes consumed by the trail of clues that lead her down a path of baffling twists and turns.
ISBN-13 : 978-1977222039
Paperback : 272 pages
Product Dimensions : 5.98 x 0.61 x 9.02 inches
Publisher : Outskirts Press (August 14, 2020)
Language: : English