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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Cover.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jack Ketchum(Author)

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A battle-scarred Vietnam vet has been living alone deep in the woods, but when a group of weekend campers enter the area his fragile grasp on reality breaks and he believes he’s back in the jungle…surrounded by an enemy he needs to kill.

This novel contains graphic content and is recommended for regular readers of horror novels.

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.

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Book details

  • PDF | 272 pages
  • Jack Ketchum(Author)
  • 47North; Reprint edition (31 Mar. 2014)
  • English
  • 2
  • Other books

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Review Text

  • By Arch Stanton on 28 August 2017

    Lee is a Vietnam Vet, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder brought about by his experiences during war, complete with symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, nightmarish visions and hallucinations which haunt him.He lives with his wife and faithful dog in the woods, terrified that if he integrates back into society he will hurt someone, so he removes and isolates himself.Unfortunately though his wife is pregnant and concerned Lee will not be able to cope with the new arrival she temporarily goes back to her parents. With Lee left behind, alone, to guard his marijuana crops (that's how he makes ends meat).Unfortunately though this loneliness coupled with the announcement from a fellow harvester that a local marijuana grower has been arrested by the feds, Lee's paranoia and scarred memories begin to take control..Things getting even worse when an author and a group of his forty-something friends decide on a camping weekend up in the isolated woods, but as they indulge in a fairly respectful bit of outdoor fun, hunting and nature trekking, Lee spots them and his grip on reality begins to slip.From there Lee starts to observe them and make traps so that the 'Vietcong' won't be able to get at him or his crops, and soon it is only a matter of time before he begins to hunt them down...Pretty good this. Enjoyed.Ketchum has the sense not to make this just another stalk and slash, instead opting for a sympathetic angle toward Lee (who is by no means heroic), and as is usual he doesn't quite go down the route you might expect. Which annoyed the original publishers no end, who were happy to go for just another 'nutter in the woods kills campers' story. However Ketchum refused to back down, not wanting to let down the vets who he'd approached and spoken to about their experiences in order to get the realism and depth of character he was looking for in Lee, and so eventually he got it some of his way. The integrity of his idea mostly held but he lost money doing it.Story wise, this has some unusual characters, not least of all a weird love triangle between the author, his wife and his mistress (who his wife accepts and likes).. The likelihood of which never really ringing true.The book's about 300 pages and starts to kick off halfway through, with some unnecessary early padding. Once they get to the woods though it does kick off and Lee starts hunting them down with his dog, crossbow and arsenal of nasty tricks and traps, from herein it delivers action and tension continually.4.25/5

  • By Colin on 10 July 2009

    Originally published in 1987, this was actually Jack Ketchum's third book but this new edition is both relevant and welcome. It also comes with a fascinating introduction by the author and an equally illuminating afterword from Thomas Tessier.Lee is a Vietnam vet, damaged by his experiences of war to such an extent that he can no longer remain a part of "normal" society so he sets up camp in the backwoods, making a meagre living growing Marijuana. Kelsey is a bestselling writer, he sets off to the same backwoods with his entourage for a bit of hunting and a photo opportunity. As you may expect when the two worlds collide the outcome is not pleasant.Read the blurb on Jack Ketchum's Cover and you could easily be forgiven that this is basically a mash up of various ideas already executed elsewhere. Take one damaged Vietnam Vet (First Blood/Rambo), set him in the backwoods to grow some drugs (Copperhead Road), throw in a couple of city slickers and let the chase commence (Deliverance).It's a shame that this might be the impression people get because Cover, despite the obvious references is so much more than a tired rehash. Jack Ketchum has invested time, sweat and no doubt a few tears researching the experiences of Vietnam vets. With this background the bloodthirsty soldier becomes the victim. The tragedy of war and the hellish situations these people found themselves in are cleverly interwoven with the consequences, revealing, as the man once said, an inconvenient truth, the fact that any one of us, given the same experience, could be that very same, apparently, maniacal killer shunned by society.Likewise the tawdry life of the main character, a successful writer with something of a strange array of personal relationships, and his "hangers-on" certainly doesn't become any sort of hero figure. As they step into a territory which clearly isn't theirs, and then proceed to violate it, it's almost like an affront to nature and in nature there is generally a fightback to protect that territory.The first hundred and fifty pages or so, sets the scene for the main characters, we find out about their personal lives, their history and their imperfections are laid out for us to see. The second half of the book then sets the two conflicting types against one another in dramatic fashion.So what could easily be dismissed as another tired old rehash of a story told a thousand times before, becomes a rich psychological thriller with deep humanist undertones. Each reader's relationship with the main characters will be different, reflecting back something of your own nature. Most of all though, Jack Ketchum has achieved what he set out to do, create a deeper understanding of the horrors of war and it's effects on those who experience it. It's perhaps not too surprising, just tragic that this has become as relevant as ever again. Above all though this is a good read, like all of Jack Ketchum's books it reveals some truths that we may prefer to leave hidden but this elevates it to another level. It might not be horror in any traditional sense but the horrors portrayed within are more real than any supernatural creation.

  • By Geoffsm on 19 November 2013

    I purchased this book having read 'The Girl Next Door' and am looking forward to reading this one. Book was as discribed, was in great condition and arrived quickly.


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