Book Review: Off Season by Jack Ketchum
One of the covers of Jack Ketchum’s novel Off Season claims it is “the ultimate horror novel” and after reading it, I agree. This no holds barred, take no prisoners, gruesome tale is definitely the most horrific one I’ve ever read. In fact, I can’t think of another novel even approaching it in terms of blatant, in your face, buzzard gagging horror.
I had to laugh out loud several times as my eyes fell in disbelief at the level Ketchum went to shock me into a limp, jelly like vessel of projectile vomiting. Jack didn’t exactly scare me with the book since he left so little to the imagination, and he didn’t succeed in making me violently ill, but he did entertain me to the maximum on the horror meter.
I write scary stories myself, and I have written some pretty sick stuff, but I must admit Jack has surpassed me by leaps and bounds since I would have reservations putting such atrocities on the printed page that could lead to my being committed to an asylum.
The story is about three men and three women who meet for a weekend of rest and relaxation in a secluded cabin (much like The Evil Dead) who are attacked by a pack of subhuman, degenerate cannibals. The pack of about 20 to 30 squalid, stinking, black gummed human ghouls both male and female are half children between the ages of seven and ten, and the rest are a mixture of teenagers and adults. To add an additional disgusting detail to turn your stomach, two of the women are in the later stages of pregnancy when they are chowing down on their human flesh.
Unlike sensible members of the human race, this unhealthy clan fights tooth and nail literally to rip and tear flesh from their victims with a maniacal frenzy even with a gun as big as Dirty Harry’s pointed in their faces. They are fearlessly driven by blood lust and totally insane.
In my estimation, Ketchum ripped and ravaged, then splayed every part of the human male and female body before the readers eyes and spilled enough blood to quench the thirst of any horror fan’s blood lust several times over. If you have reservations about my estimations of the bloodletting in this ghastly journey into the depths of depravity, lay your money down and become a believer.
In addition to the blood and gore, Jack Ketchum has written a well crafted story, with well-developed characters that keep you on the edge of your chair from beginning to end. The end, I might add, is particularly memorable, but I won’t go into that.
If I had read this story around a campfire on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere, I would surely have torn down my tent and possibly backed into a tree in my haste to see civilization once again.
Some authors warn their book is not for the faint of heart, but with Open Season this warning has teeth. I would turn all the lights on and check all the windows and doors before sitting down for a good read with this book in hand. Also, check the fine print in your life insurance policy. Suicide caused by cardiac arrest from reading Jack’s book may not be covered.
You think I’m joking, don’t you?
If you like to be scared, click on a book below: