Jenny Thornton’s cousin from The Forbidden Game trilogy, Zachary Taylor, usually called Zach, is an artist, a photographer so focused on his art that even when being chased by a shadow snake called The Creeper he’s not nearly as concerned with his own well being as he is with managing to get a picture of this strange creature. This isn’t a new thing. Apparently Zach once painted some deserted houses in order to photograph them which the police called vandalism “but Zach insisted it was art.” So, Zach has been known to take chances in order to get the photographs he wants. He especially loves things that seem bizarre, different, totally unique.
Zach always seems a bit thoughtful, caught up the world of his own mind. His biggest fear is of going crazy. He tells Jenny “It was bound to happen sooner or later. It runs in the family.” He has a fear of the things in his head turning against him. He won’t explain to Jenny though why it is that he believes insanity runs in the family but maybe it’s because of his and Jenny’s grandfather whom he was always told went crazy and tried to attack Jenny as a child.
Zach can be a bit down on life. Undoubtedly this comes from first of all his assertion that he’d go crazy someday and secondly from his strained relationship with his parents, specifically his father who doesn’t understand Zach’s interest in art in the slightest and doesn’t attempt to hide his disagreement with how much time Zach invests in it.
Zach has always thought imagination to be safer than reality, something he learns isn’t quite true when he is forced to face imaginary worlds scarier than anything he’s ever experienced in reality. By the end of the story Zach actually starts to notice things outside of himself more, such as Summer. Jenny makes a point of mentioning Zach’s sudden interest in Summer near the end of the book. She says “Won’t last a week” but the point is that he is coming out of himself a little and that’s good.
The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J. Smith
Reflections on LJ Smith