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Publisher's Summary

September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River - off season - awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall.

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.

Critic Reviews

"If you read Off Season on Thanksgiving, you probably won't sleep until Christmas." (Stephen King)
100 Must-Read Thrillers (International Thriller Writers)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

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CRAZY AS A WHORE IN THE VATICAN

Backwoods, backward, cannibalistic inbreed Yankees, my kind of book. This is Ketchum's first book, which explains the inconsistences in the writing. At times you think great and at others NOT. Overall it is a good read if you are into this type of stuff. Konrath writes better, but I don't know if I have read his first book, so we may not be comparing apples to apples.

It has gore, it has lots of sex and yea, it is a little sophomoric. If you are not into this genre, you will not like it, if you are into it, you will have a hoot.

I thought the narrator was pretty good. He is the kind of narrator, which makes you forget someone is narrating. You feel like you are reading it in your head, can't see how anybody could object to him.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry
  • Katy, TX, United States
  • 11-22-09

Wow!

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Breathless

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.
And again.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nathan
  • Wakarusa, KS, United States
  • 11-04-10

Nice!

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Neva
  • Kingston, TN, United States
  • 12-03-09

Great Read

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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The 1980s were a long time ago, eh?

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.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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loved it

This book was awesome. The imagery projected into my mind by the writer was on a whole new level.

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loved the ending (no spoilers)

I had trouble concentrating on some parts of the book. I think the narrator did great with character voices and emphasis on certain things, but his normal reading voice is a little Ben Stein (clear eyes) for me.

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A tale of door and sheer brutality

I like my horror like I like my spaghetti, really messy. I would rather see this on screen than listen to it although it did paint a pretty gruesome narrative which is ultimately what I was seeking and found. the narrator is fabulous on this one, every other character sounds like the old man in Pet Sematary.

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  • jennifer
  • 07-04-10

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dallas Winston 9
  • 01-20-17

The Hills Have Eyes meets The Strangers

What made the experience of listening to Off Season the most enjoyable?

This book was no holds barred in all departments. The afterward by the author highlights how graphic the book was for its times, but it still is. Put it this way, if it were to be adapted Rob Zombie would be the man to do it. However, the violence, sex etc all suit the story. So to answer the question the book delivers on its promises! The narrator was also a good match to the story.

What other book might you compare Off Season to, and why?

This books is 'Constant Reader' territory. So anything Stephen King, IT WAS SET IN MAINE! The story was most like the films; 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'The Strangers'. I would recommend to anyone who likes gore!

What does Richard Davidson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Richard Davidson was well suited and brought a slick laid back style.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book grossed me out😝

Any additional comments?

Really enjoyable. Steady at first but when the s!!t hits the fan it explodes. Give it a try😀

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  • Madcozy
  • 11-13-16

Love this author

Love this author the books are no holds barred shocking at time but you can't stop listening