Monday, August 30, 2010

She Wakes, by Jack Ketchum

(pb; 1984, 1989, 2003, 2004)

From the back cover:

"Greece. Ancient land of mystery, legend and myth. It is here that businessman Jordan Chase visits an historic tomb, only to experience a dark vision of the future. And it is here, amidst the beauty of the landscape, that Lelia, a gorgeous but dangerous woman befriends a group of tourists. . . to lure them into a nightmare of pain and terror. She lives to seduce and destroy, to feed off her human prey. Lelia is more than myth, more than superstition. Lelia is deadly."


Decent horror novel from an excellent writer. Ketchum's pull-no-punches violence and sex is in place, the locale is spooky, and the villainess (Lelia Narkisos, aka "the Goddess with Three Aspects") is hiss-worthy.

The problem is, Ketchum's most powerful work is crime-based (murder, rape, etc.), and his outrage at these crimes is what gives his writing such disturbing resonance. She Wakes lacks that resonance because it's supernatural fiction; the vivid description and the repulsion is there, but it's not Ketchum usual gut-level writing, it's head-level writing -- writing that tickles the brain, but little else.

Worth checking out from the library. First-time Ketchum readers should go with one of his other, better books before reading this.

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