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Black Lightning Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 1998

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From 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
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (May 31, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517314088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517314081
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,659,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

House of Reckoning is John Saul's thirty-sixth novel. His first novel, Suffer the Children, published in 1977, was an immediate million-copy bestseller. His other bestselling suspense novels include Faces of Fear, In the Dark of the Night, Perfect Nightmare, Black Creek Crossing, Midnight Voices, The Manhattan Hunt Club, Nightshade, The Right Hand of Evil, The Presence, Black Lightning, The Homing, and Guardian. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling serial thriller The Blackstone Chronicles, initially published in six installments but now available in one complete volume. Saul divides his time between Seattle, Washington, and Hawaii.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chris MB on November 14, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In looking over previous reviews I've seen words and phrases like "point of view" and "character development." This leads me to believe that people are either expecting too much of Mr. Saul or they're over-thinking the book. Saul writes horror and thriller novels - he does not attempt to reach the modern literary equivalent of War and Peace each time he puts pen to paper. If that's what he was trying to accomplish, he would be an astonishing failure. To the contrary, he's actually quite successful and good at what he does. He writes entertaining, escapist thrillers that are, at best, amusing and, at worst, a cheap thrill.
Black Lightning is no different than previous Saul novels although it deals less with the traditional supernatural horror elements and focuses on fairly standard "serial killer" fare. But there are problems. The novel is probably 100 pages too long, the ending is poor and the overall plot is merely a slightly enhanced version of hundreds of novels already on bookshelves.
Saul has written better - check out The Blackstone Chronicles. There are better novels and authors but there are also worse. Saul is, as always, middle of the road.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Get What We Give VINE VOICE on March 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first John Saul novel I've ever read. I hope his others aren't this formulatic and drawn out, only to reveal a disappointing conclusion.
The story is one that, sadly, has been done over and over again in print AND on film. Anne Jeffers, ace reporter, watches serial killer Richard Kraven, whom she helped convict, die in the electric chair. At almost the same time, thousands of miles away, Anne's husband suffers a massive heart attack. Dead for over two minutes, Glen Jeffers recovers, but his personality is just never the same.
The gruesome murders attributed to Richard Kraven start all over again - four years after his incarceration. Who can be the killer? Is there an accomplice? Are these copy cat murders? Who can say?
Unfortunately, anyone who's ever seen the movie "Fallen" or an old 1980's horror film (the name of which escapes me now), knows what has happened.
Saul throws a few mugafins our way, but to anyone experienced in reading a variety of books can see right through the fluff.
The most disappointing aspect of the book is that the ending feels thrown together. It's as if Saul had a specific number of pages that he had to supply to his publisher, and he didn't want to go below or above that number. In short, the book just sort of ends. It's not satisfying.
The police in this book are more bumbling than the team that investigated the Jean Benet Ramsay case in Colorado. They haven't investigated all their leads and the proof that Kraven was the serial killer is never really fleshed out. The central characters don't act believably and the trains of thought displayed don't follow a logical flow.
And when was the last time you heard of a convicted murderer on death row being executed within four years of his incarceration?
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anne Jeffers is a Seattle reporter who has been working on a serial killer's case for five years. The man is Richard Craven. For Five years he has terrorized most of the West Coast and many other states. Claiming victims that he doesen't even know and dismembering them. Finally he is caught and sentenced to the electric chair. The terror is now over, or is it? Anne Jeffers husband, Glen Jeffers, has a heart attack at the exact time that Richard Craven is executed. Two weeks later Glen is out of the hospital, but something is different. Lately, Glen has been having visions that make no sense to him, he becomes more aggressive, and he blacks out and wakes up in different places that he rembers. What's wrong with Glen?
I thought this was an interesting book. It is a little hard to follow until you get into the book. For example in Chapter 1 it is Anne's point of view, and in Chapter 2 it is Glen's point of view, then in chapter 3 it is back to Anne's, and so on until later on in the book. This is useful because you get to see what is going on with all of the characters. This was a good book, but it has a lot of graphic violance. Mature audience recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on November 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Black Lightning,

Cliché ?

Many writers use this type of story often. Does this take away from the enjoyment of the read? I say NO! I rather enjoyed this book. If I would have listened to what other reviewers had to say I would have never have read John Saul.

Anne and Glen Jeffers find themselves trapped in a nightmare that seems to have no end. A serial killer seems to be haunting them from the dead. Anne and her husband are taken on a whirlwind of a ride.

I thought the book moved at a nice pace, it kept me turning pages. I do not like to give away plot so I will just continue with my overall opinion.

This book does borrow many elements from horror books that have gone in the past, but I believe this genre has plenty of room for more books like this. Overall this book was fun and enjoyable. I never felt bogged down or bored. The pages turned at a nice pace and the story flowed smoothly. John Saul has a very smooth way of telling a tale. Although this book may not be great, I felt it was good and deserved much better treatment than many reviewers gave it. I liked the book well enough to purchase other Saul books.
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