Black Lightning

Black Lightning

3.9 18
by John Saul

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John Saul knows how to make the blood run cold and the heart race wild with fear. Now the author of the New York Times bestsellers Creature and The Homing delivers his most chilling novel yet, a gripping story of a convicted serial killer sentenced to death--and hell-bent on revenge.
For five years Seattle has been seized in the terrifying grip of a monster as…  See more details below


John Saul knows how to make the blood run cold and the heart race wild with fear. Now the author of the New York Times bestsellers Creature and The Homing delivers his most chilling novel yet, a gripping story of a convicted serial killer sentenced to death--and hell-bent on revenge.
For five years Seattle has been seized in the terrifying grip of a monster as black as evil itself: a sadistic serial killer who methodically lures his victims to grisly deaths in order to satisfy a twisted passion.
For five years journalist Anne Jeffers has pursued this horrifying story like a woman obsessed--following the killer's capture, trial and appeal--crusading to keep the wheels of justice churning toward the electric chair, never believing the prisoner's steadfast denials of guilt.
Now the day of execution has come. A convicted killer will meet his end. Anne believes her five-year nightmare is over.
Until, within days, a similar murder stuns the city, forcing Anne to face some disturbing questions: Was the wrong man put to death? And is she to blame? Or did he have an accomplice who longs to continue a bloody legacy? Is a copycat killer at work? But how could any imitator so uncannily re-create all the gruesome hallmarks of a murderer's modus operandi, details kept completely secret from all but the police?
As the murderer stalks his next victims, creeping ever closer to her, Anne cannot help but feel an icy unease, a haunting sense of connection to these unspeakable crimes. And, relentlessly, she hears the eerie echo of the dead man's last words to her: "Today won't end it. How will you feel, Anne? When I'm dead, and it all starts again, how will you feel?"
In Black Lightning, John Saul strikes with a novel as electrifying as a jagged bolt from a pitch-dark sky, proving once again his inimitable genius for suspense.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fast pacing and skillful narrative misdirection make this supernatural thriller one of Saul's (The Homing) best-and one of his few not to focus on children in peril. Richard Kraven, the novel's heavy, is as nasty as they come: he eviscerates his victims before they die, in the misguided hope of learning the mystery of life. He also seems to be extending his murder spree after his execution in the electric chair. At least that's what reporter Anne Jeffers tries to prove to the incredulous Seattle police as the killings strike ever closer to her home and family, apparently in retaliation for her help in putting Kraven behind bars. Saul ratchets up the suspense by intercutting chapters told from the points of view of Anne, detective Mark Blakemoor and a serial murderer who thinks of himself as ``The Experimenter.'' He complicates matters by introducing another murderer and by raising suspicions about Anne's husband, Glen, who suffered a heart attack at the moment Kraven died and now experiences blackouts that coincide with the killings. Saul depends on remarkably unobservant cops and a contrived occult explanation to tie all the subplots together, but he sustains the mystery of the killer's identity and motives throughout. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; major ad/promo; simultaneous Random House AudioBook; simultaneous release of The Homing in mass market paper. (Aug.)
Library Journal
While Saul's horror fiction isn't likely to be discussed in many graduate literature courses, odds are that each of his new novels will appear on the New York Times Best Sellers list. In his latest, a serial killer terrorizes Seattle.
School Library Journal
YA-Sufficient detail is provided to enable participation in this horror puzzle. The last person convicted-murderer Richard Kraven asks to see before dying is Ann Jeffers, the newspaper woman who had kept his name and crimes in the public consciousness for five years. ``Today won't end it...I'm sorry I won't be here to see you suffer when you finally realize you were wrong about me,'' he says. Brutal murders, perhaps copycat, perhaps at the hands of an accomplice, resume. At first, Ann accepts the changes in her husband following his heart attack. Gradually, they both begin to question what is happening. Soon readers will be more concerned with how things transpire than with who is responsible. Teens seeking a deliberately told tale that promises to raise them to the edge of their seats should find satisfaction in this story.-Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Ray Olson
Onstage, tramps wait for Godot. In real life, psycho-killer thriller fans wait for Hannibal Lecter. But Tom Harris takes his sweet time, which is one reason "Red Dragon" and "Silence of the Lambs" stand head, shoulders, and lots of the torso above the competition. Somewhere near the belt line comes cut-rate horrormeister Saul's latest. It begins with serial killer Richard Kraven going to the chair. Just before he does, he has a last word with the reporter who led the cry for his execution, Anne Jeffers. He says he's not guilty and only regrets not getting to watch her die. Just as Kraven's croaking, Jeffers' architect husband, Glen, has a totally unexpected, near-fatal heart attack. And then, after two years' hiatus (the time between Kraven's apprehension and execution), murders awfully like the ones Kraven died for start up again. What's more, Glen's not the same as before the heart attack--he's colder and subject to horrifying, bloody nightmares--and Anne's getting some "tres" creepy anonymous messages. Say, you don't think that something downright supernatural's going on? Well, this "is" a John Saul opus, and really one of his better efforts. Until Hannibal comes home, it's worth psycho-killer thriller fans' attention.

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Random House Publishing Group
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Black Lightning 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The way its written is great... leaves you guessing up until the last pages. Not for the squeamish... gets a bit graphic in tems of guts and gore.... but still a GREAAAT book
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Lucy23 More than 1 year ago
I love this author, but not this book. The perspective shifts in the middle of scenes were troubling. I would be in to one character and suddenly shifted to another's thoughts. Otherwise, this book was somewhat entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whomever More than 1 year ago
Generally liked this book.It did keep me page turning to see what was going to happen next.Liked all the plot twist.Was kind of a disturbing plot but no worse than a lot of other authors out there.Would probably read other books by this author, especially if they were in the bargain section.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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MaGicAllyGeNuisJ More than 1 year ago
Dark Lightening was a very interesting and unique. It had its high and low points like any other book. The main character of the book is Anne Jeffers, she is a news paper reporter. She is doing a news paper article on a serial killer name Richard Kraven. Richard Kraven has been accused of killing multiple people in a gruesome manner. However, none of the evidence can prove he did it. Things take a turn for the worse when Richard Kraven finally is executed. No one can explain the cop cat killings, but its one person who can.... Please continue to read, even though it seems like its going to be lame. Its not trust me. It gets better and better closer to the end. If you like horror, suspense, drama, and a little romance. Please check out this excellent novel by John Saul.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a total waste of time. Do not buy it if you have half a brain (or more). I have read many of John Saul's books and this is the worst by far. Good Luck!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very excited when I read the back of this book! It looked so good. However, I was very disappointed. The book is not very realistic and very easy to figure out. The book was not suspenseful just evil and weird. By the middle of the book you knew who was doing the killing and the little suspense present in the begining of the book was gone. I do not recommend this book to anyone except those who like the supernatural/evil thrillers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, Black Lightning,was the best book I have ever read. Once you get past the first chapter you will want to keep reading. You have to find out what happens after the execution...
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Sauls proves himself to be a very good suspence aouthour,he is up there with koontz and king. this book holds you from the first page to the last, you will not belive who the murderer is. this was a book that you read very quickly because it is very difficult to put down. i recommend this book to anyone who likes horror suspense and a very good plot,in the beggining of the book a seiral killer is excecuted. After his death, another murder disturbs, much like the serial killiers murders, the seattle city. The detictives start thinking that they put the wrong person on death row. i will not tell you more... but this was an excellent read and i strongly suggest you read it. It was one of the best suspence novels that i have read, but it has alot of gore, so if you have a weak heart dont read it...
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading the introduction,I bought the book and actually made time available to read and finish it. My next trip to the bookstore was to the John Saul section. I purchased 'Darkness' and 'Guardian' which were even better.