Friday, May 24, 2013

Forgotten Books: Blackburn -- Bradley Denton

While I'm calling this a forgotten book, I doubt that anyone who's read it has forgotten it.  Can it really have been 20 years since it was published?  Wow, that's scary.  Seems like only a couple of weeks ago.

Jimmy Blackburn is a killer.  He kills only people who, in his judgment, deserve to die, like oil-change scam artists, crooked encyclopedia salesmen, people who kill dogs. He doesn't stay in one place very long, as you can imagine.  As he travels,  he occasionally manages to fit in somewhere, but not for long.  Somebody always needs to be killed.

Blackburn winds up where any killer might, and I won't go into that.  The circumstance of just how he gets there are complicated, and the ending even offers a hint that Blackburn might have found what he was looking for on his travels.  Some of Blackburn's early life is brought out in flashbacks to his childhood.  Denton's not saying the character's upbringing made him a killer.  He's just showing the casual cruelty and inhumanity that can be found anywhere, including a small town in Kansas.  Sometimes our end is our beginning, maybe.

Bradley Denton tells his story in straightforward prose, unadorned by any frills.  It's a very effective method.  Oh, and I should mention that as grim as the subject matter is, and as terrible some of the events are, parts of this book are hilarious.  You'll laugh even if you don't think you should.  Trust me.  

There are several other stories about Blackburn.  "Blackburn's Lady" is one of them.  You can read it here. "Blackburn Bakes Cookies" is another.  It's here.  And "Blackburn and the Blade" can be found here.  All are recommended.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I cannot tell you how many times I have recommended this book in the two years since I read it.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it was your recommendation that got me to read this one in 1997. Great stuff.


Kelly Robinson said...

I guess I sort of forgot about it. I remember wanting to read it, and never got around to it. Thanks for putting it back on my radar. Straight to Amazon.

Elektra said...

This is such a creepy, well-written book. I've recommended it to countless people since I read it. Great write up!

Life Coaching Philadelphia said...

I read this book about 5 years ago and scenes from it still crop up in my mind out of the blue for no reason. I can't explain this. I guess it's one of the best books I've ever read.

Click Here said...

One of my all time favorite books. Not your typical serial killer story AT ALL! Should be made into a film.