If you would like to read a perfect Halloween book, or a chilling, thrilling novel to read at any time of the year, look no further than the awesomely suspenseful, spine-tingling Black Light, by the writing team of Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, & Stephen Romano. Their names should sound familiar to fans of the Saw franchise, as Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston wrote the screenplays for Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D. Also, they wrote the screenplay for The Collector, and are filming The Collector 2. Black Light delivers the goods, and Buck Carlsbad and his unique Gift that allows him to Pull ghosts into his body by using his will instead of the proton packs like in Ghostbusters makes for one of the coolest and most bad-ass characters of the horror genre.
Buck Carlsbad is the first-person narrator of Black Light. He was found trapped in a car with the windows up in Arizona in the summer when he was a boy, and the intense heat cause him to experience amnesia about his parents and background up until then. He didn’t even remember his own name, so chose the name Buck Carlsbad himself. He received training in several martial arts, and also eventually discovers he can communicate with the dead and trap them within his own body for a short time, until he can dispose of them later by regurgitating them into funeral urns and burying them.
While the dead are within him, he can see things that they see, a world of different levels of intense Blacklight. The light is so strong, he needs to wear filtered goggles to protect his eyes. He has learned that he can sometimes pull out items from his own past, a past he doesn’t remember, that should hold some sort of meaning for him. The goggles he wears come from one such encounter with his own past, and he believes that they must have belonged to his father, and that his father also rid the world of the harmful spirits of murderers and child molesters as he does now. Buck’s services don’t come cheap, generally speaking, but he sometimes just wants to ingest as many spirits as he can, and progress ever lower down into the lowest levels of the Blacklight, in his attempt to gain as much knowledge as he can about his parents. It is a dangerous thing to do that can cost him his life, but it’s worth it to him.
The main case that Buck takes on in Black Light is one that involves a super high-tech bullet train running express through a stretch of unforgiving desert known for the most deadly paranormal events in history. It’s a place that would be on the torn part of a map he brought back from the past. It’s a place where Buck almost died a few years ago, and one he swore he’d never return to; but, it’s a place that pulls him to it, almost as inexorably as ghosts get pulled to him.
An extremely wealthy man (Sydney Jaeger, of Jaeger Industries) hires Buck to be one of the people to ride the train known as the Jaeger Laser on its maiden voyage. Buck is supposed to make sure that if anything supernatural happens, he can stop it from getting too out-of-hand. But the area is a Bermuda Triangle of supernatural phenomena, with its three angles marked by “Three maximum security prisons holding death row inmates, all within a hundred kilometers of each other.” Buck tells Jaeger that he calls the area “the Blacklight Triangle,” and that it’s “one of the worst recorded spots for paranormal activity.”
Jaeger hired Buck to prevent anything happening like what happened on an earlier test run: the derailment of the train and destruction of its engine by some unseen force. Buck calls the ghosts he Pulls into his body “marks,” and he’s learned that of all the potentials ghosts he might face and have to Pull while aboard the Jaeger Laser, the worst of the worst are the Blackjack Nine. He’s never Pulled as many as nine marks at the same time, let alone nine like these, which the man who recommended him for the job (who also goes along to help out) calls “Nasty bastards.” Buck thinks to himself: “Nasty bastards are a million times worse at six hundred miles per hour.” When Buck finally faces the Blackjack Nine, it’s like the rest of the novel is an adrenaline rush and your heart will feel like it’s beating out of your chest.
Black Light is a modern-day horror novel that will rock your socks off with it’s jet-fuel mix of grisly violence, extreme gore, and high body count. I definitely loved reading the novel, and am hoping a sequel is in the works. If you are a fan of the horror genre, and the Saw franchise, Black Light is a Must Read.