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Black Valley Hardcover – July 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A madman terrorizes a small Oregon town in this chill-o-rama that ventures deep into the world of lurid fantasy. Residents of Black Valley think they got rid of the sadistic Whitey Dobbs by burying him alive on a wintry night 22 years ago. They're wrong. Dobbs-known for his bone-white hair, chilling laugh and skill with a switchblade-is spared from death by a miraculous radioactive effect that turns him into an immortal time-traveler, capable of visiting the past, present and future at will. Most frequently, Dobbs returns to Black Valley in all his murderous glory to seek vengeance on the five men who as teenagers stuffed him in a coffin and laid him to rest in a deep grave on haunted Hawkins Hill. Steadily, Dobbs begins slicing up his old enemies and anyone else who happens to stand in the way. The one he saves for last is Dean Truman, now a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and college professor who figures out how Dobbs has managed to come back to life with superhuman powers as well as the skill of being able to disappear whenever he pleases. Truman, aided by his vivacious colleague, Piper Blackmoore, knows it's going to require guts and cunning to take down the elusive Dobbs. Toward the end, the plot takes on an almost farcical quality as Brown (24/7) heaps on one outrageous twist after another, yet there is no doubt he knows his way around a nail-biter. His many cliffhangers teeter just right, his tone strikes a convincing balance between ominous and terrifying and many of his characters are just quirky enough to strike fleeting doubts about their sanity.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

From the author of the exciting 24/7 (2001) comes another slightly over-the-top thriller that puts ordinarily people in an extraordinary situation. The story begins with Whitey Dobbs, of Oregon's Black Valley, being buried alive by four of the town's well-off teenagers. It's all in good fun--Whitey bet them he could stay underground for a certain length of time--but it turns distinctly frightening when, on the little radio he took into the coffin with him, Whitey hears that the boys, the only four people who know he's six feet under, have been killed in a car accident. What he doesn't know is that the radio story was a scam. The four boys are alive, but when they return to dig up the coffin, they find it empty. Flash-forward 22 years: the four practical jokers are successful adults, and a lot of strange and dangerous things are suddenly happening in Black Valley. Is Whitey Dobbs behind the goings-on? And is he dead or alive? Creepy, spine-tingly, and look-over-your-shoulder suspenseful--a nice blend of thriller and horror. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345446992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345446992
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,505,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

JIM BROWN is a critically acclaimed author, as well as an award-winning journalist. His novels have been published in 26 countries and have been translated into Russian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, and even Bulgarian.

His first two novels 24/7 and Black Valley, published by Random House, have been optioned for film.

In addition to being a full-time writer, Jim is a renowned broadcast journalist. He has worked with NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox. He has also broadcast live for CNN, been featured in a BBC documentary, and reported from inside the Oregon State Penitentiary for the execution of Jerry Lee Moore.

As a crime reporter Jim has covered breaking news such as the Springfield, Oregon school shooting, the Atlanta Child Killings, the Stocking Strangler, as well as countless other criminal and court cases. As a result, he has been threatened and even shot at. But he always got the story.

Customer Reviews

Highly recommended Fast read IE a Page turner.
Rodney A. Mclaughlin
If you are even halfway literate, you will not enjoy this book.
R. Stiles
I don't know why I stuck with it, but I did finish.
Craig Larson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on August 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I grew up in Oregon, and fictional Black Valley is all too believable. The settings, characters, dialogue, are recognizable to any small-town Oregonians. Of course, Jim Brown used to anchor the news in the area where I lived, so he should be capable of painting an accurate picture.
Oh, and what a picture he paints!
"Black Valley" is the epitome of suspense fiction. Full of bizarre scenarios, walking dead men, and gruesome deaths, this book will take you by the throat and shake that slumber from your eyes. I tried to go to sleep a few times, but, no, "Black Valley" insisted that I press on to the wild finale.
As with Brown's "24/7," the story is tightly plotted, and he juggles his characters without dropping the reader in the process. Also, as in his debut novel, he allows only brief moments for us to care about these characters. Intermittently, I was touched by their inner dilemmas, but Brown relies on the plot to chase us through each chapter. In the end, despite the flurried page turning, I had little concern or connection with those thrust into this horrendous maelstrom of suspense.
If you want intelligent storytelling that takes your breath away, Brown is a master. Both his novels will satisfy. He comes up with terrific premises, and, just when you think the ideas are too farfetched to believe, he comes up with ways of making them palatable--even frightening. No time for deep characterization here, but no time for sleeping either. These books will grab you by the throat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Yoketta on August 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was riveted from the first sentence to the last. Black Valley is without a doubt one of the best books I've read this year. It kept me guessing, kept me terrified and, most importantly, kept me reading.
According to the bio, Jim Brown is a television anchor man (now I know what they do durrng the commercials -- they come up with bone chilling ideas -- or at least this one does.
I liked it so much I'm going and read his first novel, 24/7.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Maynard VINE VOICE on March 31, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I always take a moment to read other reviews before I write my own to get an idea how my opinion agrees or differs. I found with this book, people either loved it or hated it, there wasn't any in-between. I am one of those who loved it.

A young man is buried alive and years later, comes back to exact his revenge. The story was a cross between night of the living dead and Dr. Who!

This book had much to offer. The story moved along nicely, without any odd moments. The author didn't waste a lot of paper describing unimportant things just to have an epic novel. I like that in a book, just get to the point. The characters were believable and well developed. I find people are much too hard on horror writers. It's fiction at its finest and at no time needs to be believable. It's purpose is to entertain, and having said that, let me assure you that Mr. Brown did a bang up job entertaining this reader. It was not overly technical or hard to follow. I loved the book and hope you will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tina on August 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed 24/7 by this author and was looking forward to his second book.
I am not sure what to say about "Black Valley". I see by the other reviews (most of them anyway) that it was highly enjoyed. My comments are mixed. This book was extremely well written. The suspense was present from the beginning and kept me riveted...until 2/3 into the story. When "Dr. Dean" starts figuring out what is happening, I lost interest. The problem: the ending belonged in a science-fiction book. I would have been happy with either a supernatural ending or a "thriller" ending, but this story ended up in Robert Heinlein land. I HATE SCIENCE-FICTION, that is why I buy thrillers. I think it was a mistake for the author to do this.
So, for me, this one only rates 3 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rodney A. Mclaughlin on September 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Brown does a fine job with this book. Keeps you quessing right to the end. How are the murders happening? Who is the real killer? And whats up with the Bum with the biblical name? Highly recommended Fast read IE a Page turner. I just love time travel books and this one has it all Past Present and Future. And he makes it all seem likly. However the ending sets up a paradox. But that could be solved by a time line split.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jim Brown's first novel 24/7 impressed the heck out of me, so I was excited to see that his second book, Black Valley, was now available. I went out, bought a copy, and began reading. Fortunately, this happened on a day when I didn't have much on my agenda, because once I started Black Valley I could not put it down. Having to abandon Black Valley midway, even for a few hours, would have been hard to do!
If you like mysteries, this book is definitely for you--Jim Brown has woven an intriguing tale that mystery lovers will enjoy trying to solve (although Black Valley has so many fun twists and turns I didn't even come close to guessing any of its secrets!) If you love horror, Black Valley will not disappoint you--Jim Brown's imagination rivals that of Stephen King. If you love science fiction, you are definitely in luck as Black Valley is filled with fascinating explanations and plots. If you like suspense, then all I can say is hang on and buckle your seat belt, as this book will literally make your pulse pound--I see from reading other reviews that I am not the only one who had such a reaction while reading this incredible book.
I won't bother going into the plot, as it has already been well-described up above, but I do want to comment on the villain, Whitey Dobbs. Dobbs is easily one of the most evil and creepy bad guys I have ever encountered in literature, and I loved every heebie-jeebie filled minute of him. Part "Killer Bob" from Twin Peaks, part "the Ghost" from Harlan Coben's novel "Gone for Good" and part Freddy Krueger, Dobbs is still a unique and original villain that may just haunt you for days long after the book is finished.
I highly recommend giving Black Valley a try--you won't be disappointed! And I cannot wait for Mr. Brown's third novel--please keep them coming!
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