‘Off Season’ by Jack Ketchum

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

A New York book editor invites her sister and a few friends to spend a few days in the lonely cabin she’s rented near the quiet beach town of Dead River. Shortly after the friends arrive, a strange tribe of cannibals descend on the isolated house. Meanwhile, the local sheriff meets a woman who has been attacked by a group of apparently ‘wild’ children, leaving her bruised and bleeding…

I hadn’t read any Jack Ketchum before so didn’t know much about this book or the original publication. First published more than forty years ago, this version of Off Season is the updated one with some of the original scenes replaced by the author – ones he was forced to cut due to their graphic nature. It also has a different ending which – and let’s be honest here – isn’t a happy one. The story takes a little time to get going as Ketchum sets up his characters in their rented house, while outside the tribe prepare to attack the inhabitants. Aside from using language that may offend, there’s plenty to get upset about in this story, including extreme violence, decapitated children, mutilation, and organ removal. Apparently, the original book also contained details of cannibalistic cooking. The writing is sharp and clever, and the author’s imagination holds no bounds. My only gripe is that after forty years the book is still riddled with typos. You’d think an editor would have corrected them by now.

In case there’s any doubt, this book is gory and extremely graphic and not recommended for anyone who’s just had their dinner.

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  2 comments for “‘Off Season’ by Jack Ketchum

  1. 30/06/2022 at 7:10 PM

    Hmm, I think I’ll pass on this one, Colin


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