And before too many hours pass, five civilized, sophisticated people and one tired old country sheriff will learn just how primitive we all are beneath the surface...and that there are no limits at all to the will to survive.
©1981 Jack Ketchum; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"If you read Off Season on Thanksgiving, you probably won't sleep until Christmas." (Stephen King)
100 Must-Read Thrillers (International Thriller Writers)
Where has this autho been all my life? I'd never heard of Jack Ketchum till recently, and took a chance on this book. I am partial to this type of story, and the genre in general, but I didn't expect the book to be as good as it was. Very, very intense, graphic violence, but for a good reason. The antagonists (the family of cannibals) are truly froghtening, even the children. If you can deal with the violence, I highly recommend this book. One of the most frightening stories I've read in a long time.
I now understand why Jack Ketchum's "Off Season" is a classic.
Mr. Ketchum is a master of setting a scene. He is also expert in building tension and conflict.
The story was gruesome...deliciously so. His writing...genius.
I will listen to it again.
Flowed really well. People didn't like some of the gore but I'm all for it. It wasn't to much that made the story lose traction. It was a good listen. Fast paced and had me tense up in quite a few moments. People out to relax and end up in a fight for survival that leads to one of the most horrible nights I can remember in a book. Overall I liked this book. Good scary horror.
Avid reader! Want fast paced, energetic thrillers. King/Koontz are favorites but finding more authors that are starting to rise to the top
Didn't expect this! Exciting and different. Not familiar with the author but want to read more. Story is just enough to feel for the characters without being bored.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Overall, it's an okay story. I didn't realize that 1981 was so long ago but after reading this book and noticing just how much it reads like a "classic", I understand that the 1980s is a whole world ago and what was shocking and revolting then in fiction has been outdone since in real life. I didn't find it particularly gory or disturbing (go read Meat if you want something disturbing) but I'm sure for an 80s audience it must have been.
The women are beyond useless and the "bad guys" are beyond believable, and if I lived in Maine I'd be offended at how "hillbilly-y" Ketchum portrays the locals, but it's fast and nicely paced and you might still find yourself wondering how it'll turn out in the end, even if you might not care about any of the characters enough to hope for their survival.
But, for a fast and gory - albeit somewhat dated - horror book, it's decent enough. I don't think I'll read more of Ketchum though as it's really more like Shock-Horror than Terror-Horror which is what I prefer when I read horror books. Oh, and there's no subtlety as to what's going on, or what will happen in the end.
The narration is okay. He's not the most animated narrator I've heard, but he doesn't hurt the story any.
While Ketchum's story is entertaining in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way, it would require a far better narrator than Richard Davidson to make it acceptable as an audio book. The story and prose are crude and require a more skilled narration than is provided to make it work. I gave up on it about one third of the way through. Not recommended.
I temper my judgement of this book for two reasons:
1. He wrote it 30 years ago, so it's unfair to compare the many books that did what he tried better since then, and
2. He was simply trying to write pulp slasher fiction and didn't care about character development and can't be judged too harshly for not doing it.
The author thinks he wrote an explicit novel, but there are 1960's novels that were more explicit (Rogue Roman comes to mind). You can't hinge the success of a novel on shock, but that's what Ketchum tried to do here.
To make explicit violence work properly, you need to pair it with beauty. Ketchum doesn't build up beauty at all, so the violence is simply boring.
Finally, the book is narrated as if by a parody of Captain Kirk. I kept forgetting to listen to the novel and imagined William Shatner reading the phone book as if it were the end of the universe. Every little thing is narrated like it's a shocker, and I mean everything no matter how trivial. There's no nuance at all, no finesse. But that may be the producer's fault and not the narrator. They may have told him to do it.
When I think of fun pulp books I listened to like "Infected" or smart explicit books like "Meat" or "Kafka on the Shore" it's hard to feel like I got any value hearing Off Season, but then those books are more mature.
I really had a hard time finishing this book. Not because of the book per se...I've always wanted to check out this novel and author. To be honest, I wasn't very impressed...its fame as a violent and nasty book is justified. The story is pretty formulaic, full of cliches and stereotypic characters. But all in all, It would have been a fun, B-movie type of experience if it wasn't for the voice artist who reads this: I didn't like his style at all. His "women" and "redneck" voices are specially sucky...I am still waiting for an audiobook version of The Girl Next Door. Hope it is read by somebody else, if ever released.
"Off Season by Jack Ketchum"
If you like Texas chainsaw massacre and the hills have eyes then this is the book for you although its very gory and very detailed it makes you think that you would never want to be in the position these characters were great disturbing well written story
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