High school can be a difficult time in a young person’s life, especially toward the end where one has to start making the sudden transition into adulthood. For Jimmy Hawthorn it is even worse. Not only does he need to successfully make that transition, he has to do it while hiding the fact that he is the one responsible for the disappearances of two fellow high school girls, both of whom are prisoners in a secret underground fallout shelter he discovered behind an abandoned house on the outskirts of town.
In “Jimmy” Malmborg taps into the torture porn zeitgeist to give us an exploration of a naïve and vulnerable mind that unfortunately takes the leap into acting upon a taboo fetish. Jimmy, the story’s protagonist/villain, is a young man who decides to kidnap a fellow student so to indulge his sadistic sexual fantasies. As the story develops we see him resort to greater extremes to cover his tracks whilst still being held in the grip of his urges.
This book is at its strongest when the story is told through the eyes of Jimmy, allowing us to understand his own confusion and the inner turmoil that his actions have wrought. We also see events from the perspective of various other school-mates, but it is when we’re put back into the head of the bewildered kidnapper that the reader’s interest is roused.
Fans of Jack Ketchum will find the content familiar and perhaps pleasing. Jimmy is a book that is direct and to the point; it offers us an insight into a troubled adolescent mind, but little more. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It does exactly what it says on the tin.