Thriller: Black Lightning, by John Saul

Black LightningJust plain preposterous

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A serial killer is executed at noon in Seattle, and reporter Ann Jeffers is covering the highly controversial event. Across the country, at exactly the same moment, Anne’s husband suffers an all but fatal heart attack, requiring multiple efforts at resuscitation. Anne flies home, relieved to discover that Glen will recover. When he’s well enough to go home, Anne rejoices, but little by little, it becomes evident that this is not the man she married. The doctor reassures her that some personality changes are to be expected, but Glen sure is acting weird. Meanwhile, although the killer is now dead, there seems to be a copycat starting his own rampage, following the same MO. Did they execute the wrong man?

There are some very gruesome scenes in Black Lightening, and if grisly were all it takes to make a thriller, Black Lightening would be a winner. But much more is required, and this novel misses the mark. Yes, mutilated bodies are discovered, all people that the Jefferses know, and the police think the killings are carried out by more than one person. So far so good. But Saul stretches credulity to the breaking point, and doesn’t do it well. Creepy does not equal suspenseful, and in sections, Black Lightening is almost laughable, especially at the end. Preposterous.

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