"The Boys of Summer" book launch

Tulsa author Richard Cox’s fourth novel, an 80s-set coming-of-age thriller, launches with a Booksmart event at the Circle Cinema on Tuesday.

Tulsa-based author Richard Cox grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, the setting for his new novel, “The Boys of Summer.” Evoking everything from Stephen King to Philip K. Dick, “Summer” opens with the monstrous 1979 tornado that nearly wiped out Wichita Falls, killing dozens and displacing thousands.

Four years later, one survivor, Todd, now 13, awakens from a coma to a world that doesn’t feel quite right. He makes friends with four other young boys, and together the group of friends comes of age “during a dark, fiery summer where they find first love, betrayal and a secret so terrible they agree to never speak of it again.”

This is Cox’s fourth novel; since 2004, the author has also published “Thomas World,” “Rift” and “The God Particle,” but he’s been working on “The Boys of Summer” off and on since 1993. Now, the epic novel is being published by Night Shade Books.

Though the book has been in the works for over 20 years, the fortuitous timing of its completion couldn’t be better, as renewed interest in 80s pop culture nostalgia made surprise hits out of similarly themed projects like Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

“This beautifully written supernatural thriller will no doubt remind some readers of Stephen King’s ‘It,’ and perhaps also of Dennis Lehane’s ‘Mystic River,’” said Booklist’s review. “But make no mistake: this is no knockoff. Cox’s story is vibrantly original and his characters are intricately detailed.”

On Tuesday, September 6 at 7 p.m., the book hits stands, and Booksmart Tulsa is hosting a launch party at the Circle Cinema that same day. Cox will read an excerpt from the book, participate in a Q&A with Booksmart host Jeff Martin, and sign copies after. 

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