January 13, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

RedRed by Jack Ketchum


Ketchum’s books aren’t for the casual reader, this one more so, I think, because it deals with animal abuse. The graphic gore is rather subdued here, for a Ketchum novel, but the idea of someone losing a dog to a mindless act of violence touches a lot of people in a way other violence doesn’t. There’s nothing prolonged here, or overly graphic, but the main premise of the story is enough to keep most readers away.

The main character, Avery, is fishing with his dog when a group of teenagers with more time and money than sense come up on him and try to rob him. When he doesn’t have what they want, they kill his dog, and from that point forward Avery seeks revenge on the teens. The story spins out from that one point, and takes us through his legal and illegal attempts to exact some sort of justice from these kids, and like any Ketchum novel, it races along from scene to scene with the finesse of a chef’s blade.

Red doesn’t feel as finely honed as his previous novels, but it’s a far cry better than She Wakes or Ladies’ Night. You can probably finish it within a couple of hours. I know I did; I had intended just to read the very start of the book to start off, but I wound up finishing it all in one sitting.

This is another gripping, compelling read, even if it lacks some of the thematic heft that Ketchum’s previous novels have had. It stutters just a bit in the third act, and the story doesn’t have the seamless flow that The Girl Next Door has, but anyone who has read and enjoyed Ketchum’s work in the past will find a lot to like about this story.

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