From Publishers Weekly
Eighteen years after its mass market release by Ballantine, Ketchum's debut horror novel gains hardcover publication. It's about time. Though this merciless tale of human evil in the Maine woods went out of print soon after publication, its bleak vision and extreme violence still influence horror today. Only a novel of expert articulation and emotional truth can cast such a long shadow, and Ketchum's is both. Horror critic Winter calls the book one of "remarkable elegance," and indeed it's drum tight. Equally impressively, Ketchum uses the devastation of a group of tourists by a band of cannibals not to pander, as so many horror writers after him have done, but to explore with intelligence (and ferocity) the nature of evil and of the human spirit that can resist it. The novel's structure isn't original, modeled largely on the film Night of the Living Dead, but its events unfold with shocking energy and directness. The imagery is cruelAbloody battles between the tourists and cannibals, torture and consumption by the cannibals of their victimsAas is the arbitrariness of who will live and who will die; but always Ketchum is in command. In an afterword, Ketchum details the rough history of the novel, explaining how he has reinserted cuts forced by Ballantine. This signed and limited edition not only revives a horror classic and offers some neat publishing lore, but also reminds us that, once upon a time, some of the most exciting genre writing came in paper covers. (Aug.) FYI: Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym of Dallas Mayr (Ladies' Night, etc.).
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
What Stephen King says About OFF SEASON: Whos the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum, the outlaw horror writer whose terrifying first novel is finally available uncut from Overlook Connection Press. That would be OFF SEASON: The Unexpurgated Edition. If you read it on Thanksgiving, you probably wont sleep until Christmas. Dont say your uncle Stevie didnt warn you (heh-heh-heh). ---- Stephen King
They had Hunted every animal but there was no flesh like mans . . . Welcome to Jack Ketchums ferocious and unforgettable first novel, Off Season. Originally published in 1981, Off Season was a defining moment of contemporary horror fiction, an instant classic whose impact on the writing and reading of horror continues today... ...when I read Off Season, I knew that its writer was different; that he was working from that raw and risky perspective known as personal vision, and that he had written a novel that was his own, and not what a publisher wanted or expected. Stocked in the shadows of bestsellers and a blur of Stephen King wannabes, Off Season was issued as a paperback original by Ballantine -- a publisher who has never shown much enthusiasm for the fiction of fear. The cover was a minimalist triumph, its title embossed in black on black, stained with a red thread of blood. The authors name -- a pseudonym -- was reported in white block capital letters, and the top of the cover announced:"THE ULTIMATE HORROR NOVEL." The hyperbole was deserved. Off Season was the genuine article, its horror insistent, visceral, and disturbing. --Douglas E. Winter, from the Introduction
Just when you think the worst has already happened... Jack Ketchum goes yet another shock further! ---- Fangoria
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