by Jack Ketchum
I wish I’d written this ...
... because had I done so maybe I'd end up resembling Jack Ketchum. Seriously, look at that guy! That's exactly what a horror writer should look like!
Ketchum (real name Dallas William Mayr) died in 2018, the same year I discovered his work. I'm happy that I have all his novels to explore but, based on the power of this one (which was his first) sad that there'll be no more of them. So here's the thing about OFF SEASON: in truth, the plot doesn't amount to much. Basically, a bunch of vacationers rent a remote cabin and get eaten by cannibals. That's about it. What makes it stand out, though, is that as well as being gross and explicit, there's some good observation at the heart of it, the principal one being that sometimes shit happens to good people for no good reason and with no good result. "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" ... um, nope, that's not a rule, it's just a hope, and in this story not many people are left to even ponder the possibility. The climax is a bloodbath and the outcome shocking. Don't expect the "hero's journey" with this one. So yes, it may be a quick, violent and nasty read but it has considerable impact and is very much worth the risk if you're willing to take it.