Black Lightning

Black Lightning

3.9 18
by John Saul
     
 

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"HIS MOST EFFECTIVE THRILLER TO DATE. . . [A] COMPELLING READ."
—The Seattle Times

For five years Seattle journalist Anne Jeffers has pursued the horrifying story of a sadistic serial killer's bloody reign, capture, trial, and appeal—crusading to keep the wheels of justice churning toward the electric chair. Now the day of execution has

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Overview

"HIS MOST EFFECTIVE THRILLER TO DATE. . . [A] COMPELLING READ."
—The Seattle Times

For five years Seattle journalist Anne Jeffers has pursued the horrifying story of a sadistic serial killer's bloody reign, capture, trial, and appeal—crusading to keep the wheels of justice churning toward the electric chair. Now the day of execution has come. A convicted killer will meet his end. Anne believes her long nightmare is over. But she's dead wrong. . . .

"ELECTRIFYINGLY SCARY."
—San Jose Mercury News

Within days, a similar murder stuns the city. As the butcher stalks his next victims, creeping ever closer to her, Anne is seized by 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?"

"ONE OF SAUL'S BEST."
—Publishers Weekly

A SELECTION OF THE LITERARY GUILD(c) AND DOUBLEDAY BOOK CLUB(c)

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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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449225042
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
438
Sales rank:
272,652
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.17(d)

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