Friday, June 15, 2007

Off Season, by Jack Ketchum

(pb; 1980, 2006)

From the back cover:

“September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River – off season – awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family, with a taste for flesh, lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall…

“And before too many hour pass, five civilized, sophisticated people and one tired old county sheriff will learn just how primitive we all are beneath the surface… and that there are no limits at all to the will to survive.”


This is the second time I’ve read this novel – I first read it about three, four years ago – and it was just as nasty and shocking the second time around; maybe more so, as this is Ketchum’s original version of the novel (with a notably different finish), before the editors at his then-publishing company demanded a (relatively) happier ending, and a few editorial trims, gore-wise.

Another improvement is that the characters are fleshed out (no pun intended) more in this new edition. Lean, mean and written for true horror fans, this is a landmark novel.

Followed by Offspring.

(Side-note: if you read this and love it as much as I do, check out: Sawney Bean, Night of the Living Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, and Straw Dogs (set to be remade and released in 2009).

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