Friday, August 03, 2007

Offspring, by Jack Ketchum

(pb; 1991)

From the back cover:

"The local sheriff of Dead River, Maine, thought he'd killed the them off ten years ago -- a primitive, cave-dwelling tribe of predatory savages. But somehow, the clan survived. To breed. To hunt. To kill and eat. Now the peaceful residents, who came to Dead River to escape civilization, are fighting for their lives. And there's only one way to do it:

"Unleash the primal savagery lurking in their own hearts."


Warning: spoilers in this review.

Offspring is a well-written but unnecessary sequel to the memorably brutal Off Season.

Why is it unnecessary? For two reasons: at the end of Off Season, it was strongly implied that all the savages were fatally dispatched; secondly, while Ketchum has concocted a lean, believable and pulse-racing sequel with hiss-worthy villains (particularly Steven, a murdering sociopath), characters worth rooting for, and a few unforgettably terrifying scenes, the tone of Offspring feels lighter, like a PG-13-rated sequel to a grisly NC-17 horror flick.

The fact that Ketchum pulled a Hollyweird plot-cheat is a minor nit, though. Offspring is a good (not great) retread read, heads above many so-called "horror" novels.

Worth checking out, if you don't expect much.

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