BLACK VALLEY by Jim Brown

BLACK VALLEY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chasing Whitey Dobbs—but is he ghost, vampire, or plain old serial killer?

The one thing they were pretty sure of when they buried Whitey alive was that the punishment fit the crime. Though only 17, Whitey had achieved a mature rottenness, and the schoolmates who called themselves the Flash Five had had him up to here. “It was a prank,” one of them inscrutably said later. “We thought he had raped my sister.” So they inveigled him into a coffin (never mind how) and planted him six feet under, counting on a good fright for therapeutic behavior modification. What they didn’t count on was that the coffin would be disinterred sans Whitey. Twenty-two years later, the Flash Five are doing quite nicely. One of them has become the town’s sheriff, another its mayor, a third, Dr. Dean Truman, a world-class scientist, winner of the Nobel Prize for some vague but wonderful contribution. And then suddenly Whitey is among them again. We’re talking multiple rapes and murders, a man strangled by a severed hand, a woman stabbed by a thousand glass shards, and everywhere you look, the specter of 17-year-old Whitey giggling balefully and claiming responsibility. But, hey, Dr. World-Class Scientist, that’s impossible, isn’t it?

In his second time out (24/7, 2001), Brown’s characters remain derivative dullards. And readers who don’t care won’t scare.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-345-44699-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2003