- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: 47north (15 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1477833382
- ISBN-13: 978-1477833384
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 113 g
- Customer Reviews: 83 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hide and Seek Paperback – 15 April 2014
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About the Author
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. He has written many 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.
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Top international reviews
Casey and her 2 pals are all rich college kids but in spite of this and Dan's best mate taking the hump at being left behind, Dan quickly makes friends with them and hangs out, being more than willing to offer up some local knowledge of stuff to do on account of Dan having the hots for Casey..
However Casey is a law unto herself, and soon her strong willed, fearless, dare-devil personality brings out the worst in Dan and seems certain to get him into trouble.
A day which comes calling after he tells the group of a local legend, a house with a bad past - a house which is now reputedly haunted, and a house which Casey is inevitably drawn to like a moth to a flame...
Hide and Seek is another very decent little horror yarn from the fearsome typewriter of Jack Ketchum, with the story built up into two parts.
The first part - being the establishing of the characters and their individual motivations, and then the second half - wherein the characters go on to play hide and seek in the run-down, 'haunted house', and where all hell breaks loose as they encounter it's subterranean secret.
With eventually Ketchum pulling off a blinder by making you actually care about the characters, in what should ultimately be just another pulp horror splatfest.. The final quarter reading like it's just come from a completely different novel as the violence and bloodshed is ramped right up.
Half way through this I thought I knew where it was going..
I was wrong.
If you've ever seen and enjoyed the excellent, almost forgotten, Barbara Hershey movie 'Last Summer' (1969) then you'll appreciate the opening vibe of this...... That is until the game begins and then it turns into Death Line ('72)!!
Das Buch kam pünktlich und auch sonst lief alles gut.
Dan was still considered young but he was old enough to buy alcohol. That was part of the fascination for Casey, Kim, and Steve. They were younger than Dan and also more wealthy. Steve had a Chrysler Le Baron and Casey had a Chevy convertible. The cars were far superior to Dan’s Chevy pickup truck that couldn’t go too fast without the front end trying to shake itself loose from the rest of the truck. Dan had lived in Dead River all his life. Casey, Steve, and Kim were tourists. They had no job, didn’t want a job, and would leave after the summer was over. Or not. That is what makes this a horror story. Dan had a fairly low-level job driving a forklift at a lumber mill but it satisfied Dan up until the time he met Casey. To know Casey was to accept her friends, Steve and Kim. To know Casey was to accept that she took risks just for the sake of taking risks. Dan discovered that when he realized she had just stolen the car he was riding in. When Dan accompanied the trio on shopping trips for anything, only three of them paid. Casey never paid. Whether Dan was seduced by Casey or by the thrill of taking risks is one of the questions in this novel.
While growing up in Dead River Dan and his good friend Rafferty had explored the abandoned Crouch house. Of course, they explored the house at night because that is what young people do; they explore creepy old abandoned houses in anticipation of the thrill of finding a ghost. Dan and Rafferty didn’t find a ghost but they did run away from the house because of some unexplainable feeling of fear. Dan knew the stories and rumors surrounding Ben and Mary Crouch. The pair had never resurfaced and gossip was that they had only moved closer to the sea into a series of caves and tunnels. Perhaps they only wanted to watch over the house they had never wanted to give up. Dan was grown now but still had a creepy feeling about the Crouch house. He did not want to go back there for any reason.
But then he met Casey, a girl who lived for risks. Her best friend Kim might say she had a death wish. Kim knew a haunting secret from Casey’s past, one that provoked the death wish and depression that could only be lightened by taking risks. Dan knew there was something strange in her past but Casey’s friends would not tell. Dan would have to find out for himself. Meanwhile, Dan became a participant in the gang’s risk-taking adventures. Once Casey heard the story of the Crouch house, it was only a matter of time that she would come up with a risk that should entertain Dan. Maybe the whole scheme was a test for Dan. The four would play a game of hide and seek in the abandoned house. At night, of course. And without flashlights.
This is where the horror and action elements come together. For this game of hide and seek in the dark, each of the four would draw a length of rope from a bag. The one with the shortest length of rope was “it.” That person would collect all the lengths of rope and carry them while searching for the other three. When a person was found, “It” would use two of the ropes to tie the person up. Another two ropes were for another found person and then “It” was free to find the last person at which time the game was over. Ketchum describes the set up for the game and the search in the dark in a way that will provoke reader shivers. And, of course, there are things in the dark that were not anticipated. This action element continues to the novel’s conclusion. This part is one of those page-turner, can’t-put-it-down parts.
So where is the emotional part? After chapter twenty-three, the novel’s conclusion, there is an eight-part addendum titled Risky Living: A Memoir. Readers should identify the elements that Ketchum expanded for Hide and Seek. Due to its basis in reality, I found it emotional. It is not a teaser or prequel for another novel. Readers who do not read it will miss something important that adds a lot to Hide and Seek.
Ketchum does a fine job of writing in the first person. Dan gives frequent hints at secrets and the reader is pulled by a continuing set of teases and hints about what will be revealed. The vocabulary is crisp and spare without unneeded words. I look forward to reading more Jack Ketchum novels. I gave this novel five Amazon stars for the entertaining writing style.
You should know that he takes his time setting the scene and drawing his characters, but this is necessary, I assure you - by the time the excrement hits the air conditioning, you'll need to give a damn about these people, one way or the other, and Ketchum does a fine job of easing the reader into that comfortable area, before unleashing the horrors awaiting us in the shadows. It takes a bit of patience, but yours will be richly rewarded in this early work from one of the masters of modern horror. You might also check out his story collection, PEACEABLE KINGDOM, for a sample of the variety and creativity that made Jack Ketchum a real stand out as a writer Stephen King called "One of the scariest guys in America"!
But, the ending is pure Jack Ketchum, so the ending is giving it two stars and the fact that it's Jack Ketchum and maybe I'm missing something from his artistic vision gets it another star.
If you end up getting this, start around chapter ten and read through to the end and then go back and read the first nine chapters and see if you disagree.
If you enjoy your horror with some gore Jack Ketchum is the author for you. Rich kids and townies. Money doesn't solve all of a family's problems. The name of the town where several of his novels took place is called ironically Dead River.
A precursor of things to come. Just when you suppose the story can't get any worse (more gruesome) you are proven wrong.
Just like the books of Horror Masters like Stephen King and Dean Koontz never get old. There are many people who have never read Carrie or Cujo or Pet Semetery or the Watchers. The same thing is true of Jack Ketchum for Horror fans who want more than the many Extreme Horror books. Jack with the variety of psychological twists to his books will have you sitting there with your mouth agape saying I never saw that coming!
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Ketchum takes his time in this one, allowing the characters to drive the narrative rather than the other way around, and it works magnificently. One of my biggest gripes with a lot of books / films in the horror genre is that I don't care enough about the characters before the blood starts flying. This doesn't mean I need lengthy back stories or -- even worse -- flashbacks; quite the contrary. Often it's through a character's actions and/or reactions that we get to know them. But it's also through their wounds that they become real.
For me, this was a story I didn't want to end simply because I felt I knew these characters, and I could have spent more time with them. Ketchum's approach only made the horror elements of this novel that much more shocking, which led to some great and/or tragic discoveries. A novella to take your time with and not race through, but highly recommended.