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."

Review:

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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