It was the summer of 1965. Ray, Tim, and Jennifer were just three teenage friends hanging out in the campgrounds, drinking a little. But Tim and Jennifer didn't know what their friend Ray had in mind. And if they'd known, they wouldn't have thought he was serious. Then they saw what he did to the two girls at the neighboring campsite--and knew he was dead serious.
Four years later, the 60s were drawing to a close. No one ever charged Ray with the murders in the campgrounds, but there was one cop determined to make him pay. Ray figured he was in the clear. Tim and Jennifer thought the worst was behind them, that the horrors were all in the past. They were wrong. The worst was yet to come.
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Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for a former actor, singer, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk. He is also a former flower child and baby boomer who figures that in 1956 Elvis, dinosaurs and horror probably saved his life. His first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is perfectly happy to let you decide for yourself. His short story The Box won a 1994 Bram Stoker Award from the HWA and he has written ten novels, including The Girl Next Door, Off Season, and Stranglehold. His stories are collected in The Exit At Toledo Blade Boulevard and Broken on the Wheel of Sex.From Publishers Weekly:
This prose equivalent of an X-rated slasher flick is the sort of nasty book that gives horror a bad name which is a pity, since Ketchum (the pseudonym of Dallas Mayr) writes with genuine skill; he knows precisely what he wants and can manipulate his readers as easily as he does his characters. Ketchum's 1996 novel, The Girl Next Door, gained him deserved fame and notoriety. Its subtext of inhumanity on a larger, national scale beyond that of the novel's punk protagonists was felt, and gave an unpleasant story a special significance. In subsequent books, such as 1999's The Right to Life, the subtext has all but vanished, while the violence level has gone way up. Take the prologue to the present novel. In June 1965, in the northwest New Jersey lakes area, sick teenager Ray Pye satisfies his need for a new thrill by shooting two young women campers because they appear to be "lesbos." ("The one still standing had given him a clean head-shot and he'd taken her out with a single shot to the eye.") The police suspect Ray committed the crime, leaving one victim dead and the other on life support, but can't prove his guilt. Retribution comes four years later. After a m‚lange of sex, drugs, foul language and every clich‚ associated with human weakness as well as the Vietnam War era, a host of relentlessly wafer-thin characters die in a climactic maelstrom of blood. Ketchum pulls in the Manson-Tate murders in an attempt at relevance, allowing one of the more sensitive characters to muse, "basically, the world sucked." That's about as deep as this book gets.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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