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Take the time to read “Dusk and Summer by @JosephAPinto

I’m a lover of short stories and novellas, not because the are quicker to read but because it’s actually one of the hardest and most disciplined types of stories to write and really pull off well. For a reviewer, however, it can be very hard review to write, especially with one so deserving of my absolute very best. As the author states below, “A fantasy is born of equal parts magic and truth; a writer’s promise to his audience should be a seamless telling of the two“. He nailed it with this statement, especially relating to his own work. Joseph A. Pinto’s Dusk and Summer is one of those literary works which has left me teary eyed with the smell of salt hovering on my scent memory.



A compassionate goodbye, a tribute to his father and a story which many of its readers will find themselves flooded with their own memories of loved ones who are no longer with them. I grew up on the beach, some of the things mentioned within this piece of literary fiction mean something to me on that relatable level. I know I won’t be able to read the next book in my pile as planned starting tomorrow because frankly it would be unfair, it is a zombie book after all. I believe I will wait so I can dream haunting dreams of wave people and perhaps my grandfather will come to me on the beach in my dreams.

This novella is a darkly beautiful journey granting all who read a coveted backstage pass to . Hidden like flotsam on the edge of its pages the allegorical dark lines of this piece. The protagonist a son whose father is about to die of pancreatic cancer asking his son to do something which, as he does, we’re graced with being able to go with him. Neither the son nor the father’s names are given, the only name is Dawn, his father’s nurse. I will note here, for those who choose to pick this book up, this is completely intentional in my not so humble opinion. As I sit here hours after finishing the afternoon read I still keep tearing up and remember my loss and the journey to get to my beach. Such a powerful story device.

dusk-and-summerI am so very glad I choose to review this instead of interview him or something else for this tour stop. The story will haunt me, not like a horror novel but a novel of a related experience told in this embracing fashion. Thank you for gifting your readers a peek into your own, Joseph.

I highly recommend this novella which all ways to obtain it for your own reading pleasure are below in the book information. One more thing, and it is a very important thing I think:

The author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.



Take the time to read “Dusk and Summer by @JosephAPintoDusk and Summer
by Joseph A. Pinto
Pages: 102
Published by Sirens Call Publications
on May 29, 2014
Genres: Literary Fiction
Source & Buy Links: Sirens Call
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Smashwords • Kobo • iTunes • • Goodreads •
Does Heaven await beneath the waves? One man needs to know.

When his dying father whispers a cryptic message to him, he has no choice but to summon his courage and begin the quest of a lifetime. It’s a race against time to realize his father’s wish and fulfill his own destiny; it’s a discovery of the unbreakable bond between father and son. It’s a journey of the heart that unfolds where only the Chosen exist – in the moments between Dusk and Summer.

Other Amazon purchase links:

UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil | CreateSpace

I received this book from Sirens Call in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“A poignant, metaphoric conversation between son and father. A story that will warm your heart.”

Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., bestselling author of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters



The Good Fight

I lost my father between dusk and summer.

Perhaps he left me long before I care to admit, long before he refused his last meals, long before his spent eyes flickered like candles behind cracked panes of some forlorn, abandoned house. Before his neglected muscles jellied into the folds of his stark white hospital sheet, and the rise of his chest grew shallow and weak. Maybe it was plain selfishness on my behalf; sitting at his bedside all those times, soothing his ears with encouragement as I squeezed his hand, desperate to impart the very courage and determination he had infused into me over my years. Even as he relied on me to raise a flimsy plastic cup of ice water to his parched lips. Had I become too scared to realize or just too blinded to ask: whose fight did this now become?

“…find me… from Tolten…”

I could have dismissed the words from his cracked lips as merely disoriented chatter, but his mouth pursed them too purposely, his tone too firm. Still, my father’s words jolted me from my bedside vigil. I bent over his thinning form, promptly taking his hand into mine.

“…go… now,” he croaked, his strength fading.

I held my breath, dared not speak. Gently, I massaged his fingers, marveling how thick and calloused they remained; my own always a child’s within their clasp. Typical blue collar hands, fearless of toil and grime. My father squeezed back, eyes widening. His candlelight flared, sparked brilliantly a moment before blinking away. I knew then I had been wrong. Someone remained home inside that deteriorating body after all. My father hung on, refusing to surrender. But what little had spilled from his lips now hung heavy between us. The message became clear. My father would not leave me.

Not until I finished his business.

My throat constricted as a terrible heat swelled within my chest. I gritted my teeth, blinked furiously and choked back the tears best as I could. Eventually, I eased him into continuing. A corner of his mouth curled. It gained momentum, spreading across his lips, his smile warming me. From within his cocoon of pillows, my father nodded his approval.

I leaned close, carefully straightening the air tube dangling from his nose. Caressed his cheek, returning his smile as his short, white stubble tickled my palm. Swallowed another blistering lump deeper into my throat. “Tell me what you want me to do, Pops,” I whispered.


I listened very intently to the scarce words my father pushed from his lips. Go. 141 Sea Cargo Drive. Manasquan. You’ll know. Go now. He did not tell me what I would find or even what I needed to do. He held the obvious trust that I would just as soon figure it out, and I was not about to question or let him down. I kissed his forehead, told him I would leave, that I would see him later. From the moment my father became sick, goodbyes no longer existed. Only see you laters. As I forced myself from his sallow room, he cleared his throat. Must find me… she… come back from Tolten. I froze, deluged with fear and for the very first time a sense of hopelessness as I questioned, but for a moment, the sanity of his words, the tenuous grip he maintained upon his own reality. No; I would have none of that. I squared my jaw, turned and measured my father. I did not see a sick and dying man. The matted wisps of white hair that returned after his last bout of chemotherapy were gone, transformed into thick, luxurious curls of chestnut locks brushed back in heaps. The sagging skin of his arms now tight, bulging with muscle, the tattoos acquired while stationed in the Air Force as crisp and fresh as the day they were etched. Shoulders squared, again capable of carrying the world as he had done so many times before. Chest, wide and broad—within, the power of a Titan, the pride of a lion. Skin so vibrant and pure. His sickness did not diminish his stature. My father grew before my eyes, every day becoming more the man I had known. I nodded, determined to accomplish what he needed of me.

I nearly collided with the nurse as I left his room. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” she exclaimed.

“No, it was me. I should’ve watched where I was going.”

Her thoughtful eyes washed over me. “How are you holding up?”

My father’s nurse was one of the better ones and tended to him with sincere compassion. Painfully, I had encountered too many who believed my father was just another room number. I regarded her nameplate, my gaze lingering. Dawn. Normally I would have little difficulty remembering. I had seen enough of her—every day for the past week, too many, many times over the past months. All that while, I found it easier to address her with simple hellos, with downcast, fleeting glances. I disassociated myself from the moment she entered his room. For my own self-preservation, I could not bear to voice her name. I had no choice. To do so would have thrown me under the remorseless incandescent glare of reality and I liked it where I was, alone, lost within ignorant shadows. There I could disguise life; the curtained obscurity made things not so real. It took all I could do from dropping my head upon her shoulder and weep. The shrug I managed in response drained all that remained of me.

Hesitantly, Dawn lifted her hand, carefully rested it along my arm. Gave me a soft but reassuring stroke, then slowly pulled away. “The morphine drip you requested is working as well as it could right now. Your dad has been unbelievable, you know. Joking nonstop, up until…”

My features shifted. She read it well. No luxury of morphine existed to mask my own pain. Dawn stole a look down the hall. No one approached. “Has the doctor seen you recently?”

“No more than he needs to, I guess.”

She offered a sad smile. “You should know your father’s kidneys are failing. His… the truth is his entire body will eventually shut down. That’s why his arms… they flop when he tries to raise them. His speech—”

“Incoherent,” I interrupted. Tolten. Tolten. Come back from Tolten. “That is, when he can speak.”

An uncomfortable moment passed. An eternity gutted my soul. “We’ve done all we can. But this is… you need to know this is the last stage. We’re keeping him as comfortable as we can right now.”

She must have believed I was strong enough to handle it. Wise enough to see the writing upon the wall. She knew little of my father’s resolve however, nor of the spirit I lent him all these months, and I was not about to quit.

Eventually, even a fool must realize when one’s own hand cannot bend fate. No matter how hard you try. “I appreciate all you’ve done. I really do.” I gritted my teeth. “That’s a tough sonofabitch in there.”

She nodded. “And a good son out here.”

Tolten. Come back from Tolten. My father’s words haunted me. It was time for me to go. “Can I ask a favor of you?” I said.

“Yes, anything.”

“You have my cell phone number in your contact list. Call me first should… should you need to. But not my mother. Please, spare my mother.”

“Of course,” she answered slowly.

Shuffling away, I whispered, “Thank you, Dawn.” It was at that moment I was dragged from the shadows. Things suddenly became all too real.




About Joseph A. Pinto

Take the time to read "Dusk and Summer by @JosephAPinto

Joseph A. Pinto is the horror author of two published books and numerous short stories; he is a member of the Horror Writers Association as well the founder of Pen of the Damned, a collective of angst and horror driven writers. Indulge in his unique voice on his personal blog and You can follow him on Twitter @JosephAPinto. Joseph hails from New Jersey where he lives with his wife and young daughter.


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  1. Kriss, thank you for reading Dusk and Summer, and reviewing it for Joseph Pinto’s blog tour! The book made me cry too, but I smiled with my own fond memories as well. 🙂

  2. What a great job you have done here, Kriss! This post is far and above what typical reviews and blog tours do. Joseph is a friend of mine and I love when people treat my friends well! Beautiful blog you have!


    • Why thank you on all counts. What a nice compliment. It was a difficult review to write as I had snot running down my face LOL. I ended up reading it again this morning without sobbing and loved it even more!

  3. Kriss – thank you for hosting Joseph!

  4. Hi Kriss 🙂 Where do I even start? I can thank you for having me on your blog for starters; that alone is very kind of you. But the support you have shown me, and in turn your followers as well, has been beyond generous, most gracious and quite humbling as well.
    I am very moved to know that Dusk and Summer affected you on the level it did; what you were holding in your hands was and forever will be a slice of my heart to share – most importantly, you now know my father. Thank you for treating his memory and all he stood for with honor as you shared my tale with your readers.
    And yes, Kriss, I most certainly did not ‘name’ my characters, aside from the nurse, in Dusk and Summer. Why? Because I wanted readers to walk the beach on their own feet. I am very happy you walked yours…yes, your grandfather was with you with each step.
    Thank you again, Kriss! *bows humbly*

    • now I am crying again… DAMN YOU!! *smiling* you can scare the crap out of me and move the hell out of me. That is saying a lot, my friend. It was my HONOR, and I mean it with all my heart!

      To the day he died, literally, my grandfather was working on his passion, his sailboat he was designing for all of us. I inherited the designs and the drafting table. There are a lot of special memories involving reading and the sea. You are so talented! Thank you AGAIN for such a gift!

      • Hi Kriss 🙂
        *hands you a tissue* I don’t want to make you cry…but I am happy that my book allowed you to conjure your grandfather’s memory again. He sounds like a special man (notice, I never use past tense) 🙂
        Thank you again for all your kindness. You should be keeping up with me on Pen of the Damned,as well with Nina and the rest of our gang…then at least we’ll be back in the business of scaring 😉 lol

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