Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Red -- Jack Ketchum
James Reasoner reviewed this book the other day, and he liked it quite a bit. I remembered that I'd had the book around for years but never read it. I took it off the shelf and discovered that it's a British paperback from 1995. Red is more a novella than a novel, and in his later comment on it, James says that there's an additional story in the Leisure Books edition. That makes his copy a bigger bargain than mine, which is filled out by a couple of chapters from another Jack Ketchum novel. But no matter which copy of the book you get, you're getting a bargain because this is one of those "they don't write 'em like that" any more books, as hard, fast, and tough as the old Gold Medals that I like so much.
As James says, the story's a simple one. Geezer's dog is killed by three young guys who do it because they think they can get away with it. They prove to be incorrect. Ketchum's spare style is note-perfect for the story that, for me, falters only once. (But not at the plot development James balked at. I thought that one was perfectly logical.) I've been a fan of Ketchum's work since I read Off Season, many and many a year ago. If you haven't read that one, I recommend it. But for now, get a copy of Red for some solid entertainment. My only regret is that I didn't read it a lot sooner.