Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

The Girl Next Door
Jack Ketchum
Leisure Books version 2008

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum starts off wonderfully: You think you know about pain? That's a kicker of a first sentence. Yes, this book is based on a true story and that is what makes it all the more horrifying. The book focuses on David and his experiences. The story is told from the POV of David and relayed as he is writing it down, though he has no intention of showing his soon to be third wife. Davi is 41 now and the events that shaped his life happened back in 1958, when Ruth, Donny and Willie meet Meg Loughlin and her sister Susan.

Admitidly I bought this book after seeing the preview for the movie, which I intend to buy, not because I think the book was fantastic but because I would like to see the movie version. The book itself is not so fantastic, it lolls around a lot and has too much inner termoil and it seemed to take a long time to get into the story fully and some things seemed a little unrealistic -- yet it is based on true events, so I guess there are people out there like Ruth, people tilting on the edge on insanity.

Jack Ketchum is an excellent writer and cn weave an awesome story with full back stories and totally engaging. I own another of his books which I enjoyed more: The Lost and have ordered Red for further enjoyment. The Girl Next Door is unfortunatly a let down.

On the front cover, Stephen King says: The Girl Next Door s alive. It does not just promise terror, but actually delivers it. I wonder if we were reading the same book?

On a side note: my wife totally loved the book.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Lost by Jack Ketchum

The Lost
Jack Ketchum
Leisure Edition 2008
Pages: 394

I've heard a lot about Jack Ketchum (especially recently), even discovered he has a couple of movies out. My only experience reading Jack is in the book Triage with Richard Laymon (the reason I bought the book) and Edward Lee.

The other day I saw a youtube clip on his movie, The Girl Next Door. Now THAT is a movie I want to see, but I like to read the book first. So, I jumped online to goodbooksnz and went hunting and ordered The Girl Next Door and The Lost. My wife read TGND and I read The Lost.

The story starts off nice and hard with a double murder and described in detail. The story then jumps four years and we get to learn all about Ray (the killer) and his friends. Best friend Tim and Jennifer (sex buddy more than anything). I didn't like the skanky ho by the end of the book. Why? Because she was described so real. We all know people like her and Tim and Ray (I do or I did), and what she does to Tim sucks big time.

Ray likes to fuck and everyone he wants -- he gets with (while Jennifer stands back and waits for him to come back to her. He always does). His mother runs a motel and Ray has the room at the back of the complex. he is assistant manager and one day, Sally Richmond comes to work for them. On her first day he hits on her and is rejected. That pisses him off. Ray has a short temper, but he holds it at bay.

Sally (18) is dating ex-cop Ed Anderson (52), she tells him where she is working and Ed gets his cop friend to pay her a visit and warn her about the assistant manager, Ray. This happens before Ray hits on her. Later he meets her at a parking lot and tries to impress her with a book he's never read but heard college students like it. She doesn't and embarrasses him in public. This infuriates him, he grabs her arm but the place is busy so he lets her go. Thinking he'll get hte bitch later.

Then he meets Katherine. On a date with her, he thinks he's meet the perfect person for him. She gets him to help her steal some free beer, drink in NY and not pay and on their second date, tries grant theift auto, but the car is locked. Ray takes her to the lake where he shot the two girls and they get it on.

Ray is totally into her.

A week later, she dumps him. On the same day, Jennifer shows up and dumps him forever and tells him she's doing Tim.

Ray goes off the deep end.

The Lost is a fantastic story looking closely at friendship, small town life, and the mind of a killer going off the deep end. There were parts I wish I had skipped, these were dreams that seemed unrelated to the story and I don't understand what they were doing there. I didn't find the violence I was led to believe (via critics -- have I not learnt yet? Never listen to critics).

This book is suspense more than horror and I think it is wrong to class it as horror. As an introduction to Jack Ketchum's writing style and skill at weaving complex characters and building a solid, believable, story--it was a good choice.