Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Genre Character of the week: Jimmy Blackburn

While looking through my old horror novels for this week's genre character, I came across the 1993 novel Blackburn by Bradley Denton. For those of you out there who have never read the book, it is pretty freakin' awesome. This week, we're looking at the main character, Jimmy Blackburn.

The novel is basically a character study. We look into what exactly creates a serial killer, from the killers point of view. Jimmy grows up in a small town in Kansas, is abused by his father and at an early age and as a result gets one of the strongest moral codes I have ever seen. He simply holds on to what is fair, and punishes what is unfair.

As Jimmy travels the country, he meets some really awful people and by the end of the book you (the reader) begin to appreciate his simple, black and white version of the world and how he goes about making things right.

The book is a very fast read (I think it took me an afternoon), but definitely stays with you, as the book also includes a significant amount of humour. Kind of like Stephen King did in his book The Dead Zone with the character Johnny Smith (wherein the author attempted to get the reader to understand the point of view of an assassin), Bradley Denton does a great job getting the reader to understand the simple and straightforward values of his main character.

In a horror sub-genre (Serial killer as main character) filled with a lot of crude and vicious people, Jimmy stands out as someone you can sympathize with and (almost) relate to; a fact that makes the book pretty chilling.

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