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Off Season I haven't a fucking clue. Like the late, great Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum is a diabolical motherfucker. He knows how to make skin crawl and stomachs turn. Each one of his books is the literary equivalent of a snuff film. They're real. They're in your face. They're sick and completely immoral.

And I can't stop reading them.

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I don't know what that says about me and other Ketchum fans, but it's the trut One does not read Jack Ketchum to be entertained. I don't know what that says about me and other Ketchum fans, but it's the truth. A woman is roasted alive, a little boy is beheaded, a man's penis is bitten off as if the lady is simply snapping into a Slim Jim, and the hero is gunned down by the people tasked with saving the day.

This book doesn't piss in your corn flakes, it shits in your hair and rubs it in like conditioner.

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If you're having a bad day There are two more books in his Maine cannibals series that's my name for the trilogy, not his. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm going to attempt marathoning these three novels. I want to see how I feel by the end of the third book, whether or not the carnage maintains its impact or becomes cartoon-ish and over-the-top when consumed all at once. Like I said above, I don't read his books to be entertained. They're more lessons on the visceral than anything else. He is a horror author's horror author, meaning, if you pay the bills with scary stories, you could learn a great deal from him.

If you're not an author, I suppose you'd read his books to cement in your mind that your life could be much, much worse. In summation, I feel a little bad that I enjoy Ketchum's novels as much as I do, but they're also terrific learning tools. If you want to learn how to make a reader uncomfortable, or enjoy feeling uncomfortable, you can't go wrong with Jack Ketchum.

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Apr 04, Tressa rated it it was amazing Shelves: horror. For me, this is the horror book to end all horror books. It is the apex of terror tales.

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No book has come close to topping Off Season, and I doubt that any ever will. In a rural area off the coast of Maine live a tribe of cannibals.

Over the decades travellers and townspeople have disappeared here, but these have been chalked up to the nature of an increasingly mobile, exploding population. People disappear every minute all over the world, don't they? The tension begins immediately and never lets For me, this is the horror book to end all horror books.

The tension begins immediately and never lets up. Six adults—two of them sisters—are vacationing in a cabin. As they eat, sleep, and relax in nature, they are silently being stalked by the cannibal clan, who soon set off an unrelenting assault on the cabin. Before you can say "pass the A1," several have been killed, one has been roasted on a pit, and two of the women have been taken back to the cave. And it's in this cave where we see just how these men, women, and children flourished all these years. You'll be tempted to flip to the last page to see how this book could possibly end.

If you managed to make it all the way through, you might want to catch up with the inbreds in Offspring. This is the book that made Jack Ketchum a legend of the horror genre. It must have been a badge of honor to Ketchum for The Village Voice, of all publications, to criticize this book for its "violent pornography.

View all 3 comments. Jack Ketchum is an author whose works have been in my digital to-read pile for ages. I'm loathe to admit it, but he's one of those writers synonymous with the horror genre whose work, for whatever reason, I just hadn't read yet. I decided to correct that in Last week, Wednesday, Jan. His passing ignited an urgent need in me to finally discover exactly what I had been missing. I wanted to get to know a bit the man who so many fellow author Jack Ketchum is an author whose works have been in my digital to-read pile for ages.

I wanted to get to know a bit the man who so many fellow authors called either, or in some instances both, a friend and an inspiration. I decided to start with Off Season , Ketchum's first novel. Holy crap, what a first novel! It's not entirely perfect - the characters are a bit thin, many of them barely rising out of cardboard cutout territory prior to their victimization - but it is compulsively readable and utterly engrossing.

New York book editor Carla has retreated to the Maine woods for a working vacation, one that, if her nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic pays off, will be more vacation than work. She's invited her sister, friends, and lover to visit and enjoy the quiet.

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The home she's rented for the month would be idyllic if not for the hungry cannibals whose primal interests her visit has drawn. What follows is an absolutely brutal, nightmarish siege of frenetic violence and misery. Hope is sparse as the blood flows freely from one shocking, nerve destroying, encounter to the next. I've read previously that Ketchum was inspired by the films Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , and boy-howdy do those influences shine through.

Ketchum, though, is no pale imitator. Whatever thematic resonance of those films he rode high on while writing Off Season are run through the proverbial meat-grinder twice-over and once more for good measure. There's no joy to be found, and any moments of humor are of the blackest pitch. This is not a fun, action-packed creature feature romp. This is horror shone through the prism of reality, and it's one bleak, serious as a heart attack, motherfucker of a book. It's also damn good. Damn good. I may be shamefully late to the party, but I can guarantee you I'll be sticking around for a while now.

View all 4 comments. Jun 12, Tracy Robinson rated it it was amazing.