Written by: Myra Gabor
OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for stories involving teenagers. I find it irresistible to read about their heartaches and, even better, how and if they conquer their troubles. And in POOR JEFFREY, oh, boy, do they have their troubles.
Jeffrey is smart and likeable. He is also clumsy. It’s this clumsiness that trips him into the path of a truck which kills him.
His friends, Tommy, Chloe and Jade are devastated. Tommy is always willing to do anything that smacks of adventure. Jeffrey was always the voice of reason that talked him out of doing dangerous stunts. With Jeffrey gone, there’s no one to put the reins on Tommy. He studies a grimoire, determined to bring Jeffrey back from the dead. He talks the girls into performing a rite to raise Tommy from his grave. They succeed. But Jeffrey doesn’t come back whole. He comes back feeling every broken part of his body. He is an animated corpse who feels pain.
There is also a serial killer in town. He enjoys eating his victims while they’re still alive and drinking their blood. The town is on edge when some of their children go missing and their mutilated bodies are found.
Chloe is so upset by what they have done at the gravesite that she walks off and straight into the arms of the killer. Tommy is distressed because he sees the horror of what he has set in motion. Jade takes the grimoire to try to make things right.
This basic plot review doesn’t take into account how Jeffrey’s grieving parents accept their reanimated son back into their home. Nor have I touched on Sheriff Klimt Davies, town rich man Frank Fielding, Father Cade or the FBI agents who have been tracking the serial killer.
This is not a horror story of zombies or vampires. It’s a horror story about what happens when people interfere with the natural order of things. Grief can make us do strange things and we cannot see all the consequences of our actions. This is actually a story of love: that of friends for each other, that of the residents for their town and that of parents for their children. Each act that is done in the name of love sets off a chain reaction of horror. The characters in this story realize too late that they can’t go back and make things as they were.