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Red Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2002

69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hints of class warfare and generational conflict add layers of interest to this otherwise formulaic tale of a heartless crime redressed in blood. The victim is Red, a harmless mutt whom a trio of shotgun-toting juvenile delinquents shoot for spite during an attempted robbery. The avenger is Red's owner, Avery Allan Ludlow, a crusty down-Mainer who can't understand the insensitivity of his dog's killers. Avery's efforts to extract a simple apology from the boys get support from the town sheriff, the district attorney and even a local television reporter, but fall apart for lack of evidence. A direct appeal to the father of two of the boys, nouveau riche real estate developer Michael McCormack, only earns Avery a burned-down store and tense confrontations with the family. When the hitherto peaceable man begins stalking the boys to intimidate them into a confession, the stage seems set for a hardboiled variation on the theme of von Kleist's classic tale, "Michael Kohlhaas." But the novel's roots are anchored in the crime potboiler tradition, and the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. Though its characters talk about people not being what they seem, everyone but Avery proves transparently one-dimensional. The plot advances predictably, ominously hinting at but never elaborating dark deeds by the McCormack clan. Ketchum (The Lost) (a pseudonym for Dallas Mayr) succeeds in inspiring the reader with righteous rage at Avery's plight for the story's duration, but some readers may find the providential justice in the novel's appropriately violent finale to simply be the cap for a shaggy dog story.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Jack Ketchum is a brilliantly visceral novelist...He is suspenseful, and his novels are page-turners..." -- Stephen King --Stephen King --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Leisure Books (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843950404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843950403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jack Ketchum "is on a par with Clive Barker (Hellraiser), James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and Thomas Harris (The Silence of The Lambs)," and that "the only novelist working today that is writing more important fiction is Cormack McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road). - Stephen King

Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for novelist Dallas Mayr. He was born in Livingston, New Jersey in 1946. A onetime actor, teacher, and lumber salesman, Ketchum credits his childhood love of Elvis Presley, dinosaurs, and horror for getting him through his formative years. As a teenager, was befriended by Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho" who became a mentor to him. He supported Ketchum's work just as his work was supported by his own mentor, H.P. Lovecraft. This relationship with Bloch lasted until his death in 1994.

A pivotal point in Jack Ketchum's career came while he was working for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency. He met Henry Miller and assisted him as his agent until shortly before his death in 1980. His extraordinary encounter with Miller at his home in Pacific Palisades is one of the subjects of his memoir in "Book of Souls".

In 1980, Jack Ketchum published his first novel "Off Season". Stephen King said in his acceptance speech at the 2003 National Book Awards that "Off Season set off a furor in my supposed field, that of horror, that was unequaled until the advent of Clive Barker. It is not too much to say that these two gentlemen remade the face of American popular fiction." Ketchum has received continued praise by King throughout their friendship.

Ketchum's work is largely based upon true events. The Girl Next Door , for example, was inspired by the 1965 murder of the young Sylvia Likens. In the special edition of the novel, King, who volunteered to write the preface, wrote one of the longest introductions of his career. He later went on to say that the movie adaptation of the book was "the first authentically shocking American film I've seen since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer over 20 years ago. If you are easily disturbed, you should not watch this movie. If, on the other hand, you are prepared for a long look into hell, suburban style, The Girl Next Door will not disappoint. This is the dark-side-of-the-moon version of Stand By Me."

He has received numerous Bram Stoker Awards for works such as "The Box", "Closing Time", and "Peaceable Kingdom". As his books gained in worldwide popularity, they also began to be adapted into feature films, the first of which was "Jack Ketchum's The Lost" which went on to be a cult success, followed by the highly controversial second film "The Girl Next Door". However, the main launch for Jack Ketchum into international commercial and critical success was the long-awaited release by Magnolia Pictures of the film Red, based on his novel, starring Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) and Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan). After favorable reviews at The Sundance Film Festival, the movie made a critical showing in the United States and enjoyed relative success internationally with subsequent translations of the novel.

The author enjoyed more international succes with the publication and film version of "The Woman" co-written and directed by Lucky McKee in which the New York Times said "in this lean adaptation of a novel by Jack Ketchum and himself, maintains an artfully calibrated pace, investing a powerful parable with an abundance of closely observed details. Like David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski, Mr. McKee is a master at drawing suspense from pregnant silences."

Jack Ketchum continues his rise with the present showing of "The Woman" at the Sundance Film Festival 2011 co-written by Ketchum with director Lucky McKee. The novel is to be released this year.

Kethcum lives in New York City where he continues to write, articles, reviews, short stories, novels and screenplays. For more information go to international website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Orlando Bookworm on December 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this is Jack Ketchum's best book. It is full of expressions of humanity and what one will do to avenge the death of a loved one. I identified strongly with Avery and was proud of his moral character and strength and overall sense of DECENCY. This is the first Jack Ketchum book I've read that isn't strictly about horror. This book is about justice being served and basic right and wrong. If you have ever truly loved a pet, I think you will like this book. I read it in one day. I cried at the end. It's beautiful - very differently written than the author's other books because it is full of devotion and the underlying motivation stems from love and honor. JK should write more books like this - it shows his intelligence and his spiritual depth. If you are just looking for horror and gore, try JK's other books, but if you want to be emotionally moved, check this one out.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on January 20, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Any fan of horror novels quickly recognizes the name Jack Ketchum. Ketchum's most notable work to date is probably "The Girl Next Door," a bleak novel about the torture-murder of a young girl. Also worth mentioning is "Ladies Night," a graphic story about a chemical spill and its subsequent effects on the female population. Ketchum is a master of graphic gore, but his recent books are seeing a receding of the red stuff in favor of suspenseful, character driven stories. "Red" is an excellent example of a kindler, gentler Ketchum (if that is possible!). Oh sure, there is still an unpleasant event at the center of the story that allows a few other unpleasant events to unfold, but "Red"' does not come close to approaching the nihilistic insanity Ketchum usually creates as a matter of habit.
"Red" tells the story of Avery Ludlow, an elderly country gent who runs a little store out in the sticks while living with his trusty dog Red. Avery's wife has long passed away and his daughter lives far away, allowing Avery to do whatever he feels like doing in his spare time. One of his favorite pastimes is fishing, which is where we encounter Avery as the story begins. Unfortunately for Avery, even an activity as mundane as fishing has its own dangers. When three young toughs pay a visit to Avery's fishing hole, an attempted robbery leads to the shotgun killing of Red. What the three kids do not know is that Avery is a Korean War vet with an unpleasant family tragedy that has made him as tough as nails. He is not about to roll over for three snot-nosed punks, and the consequences of his stand slowly escalate tensions between Avery and the family of two of the boys.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By FloozyFlapper1926 on August 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Red" is the kind of book you can't put down once you start it and you will read it to the bittersweet ending. Its the story of an elderly man with a dog named Red he loves more than life. A simple lonely man, he has few good things in his life after losing family members tragically years before. On the day, he takes his dog fishing with him, three boys come along, rob him and shoot his dog for no reason. After this, he tries to seek justic for the murdered dog, but two of the boys are rich and from a powerful family. Each thing he tries is thwarted until he takes matters into his own hand.
This book is depressing and thought-provoking. As a dog lover, I identified with Avery especially with his feelings at the loss of his pet. This book is about how little the law protects animals and as well as showing the problems of class still prevalent in our society. It is not a horror novel, but a classic novel of love and vengeance. Its one of the best books by Ketchum I've read and its great.
Good from beginning to end, Red will stay with you long after the last page. A great, great novel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Hirsch on December 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Someone gave me a copy of Jack Ketchum's "Red" a while back, and quite frankly it sat on my book shelf for about 3 years. There was nothing about the jacket or story synopsis that got me excited to read this short Novella.

I found it a quick read and 2/3 of the Novella is actually quite good. I expected a standard "dog is murdered, owner takes revenge" story filled with gratuitous violence and torture. Surprisingly what I got was a story of one man's quest for justice after the murder of his dog, in a selfish and unresponsive world. Of course the man does have to take matters into is own hands towards the end (this is where I feel the story loses itself a little), but only after his quest for justice and personal responsibility is ignored, and in a sense, discouraged.

Ketchum does a great job with this short novel format and gives just enough background and character development that the book does not rely solely on plot to move the story forward. The emotional embers in Lloyd drives the direction of the story and it is the destruction of his belief in right and wrong that creates the final conflict in the story.

For such an un-original plot, Ketchum almost makes something original. I am going to give Ketchum a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Red is the story of Avery Ludlow, a widower in the twilight of his life. A simple man, Avery is content to run his general store, fish, and pass the empty hours with his only companion, his dog Red. His life is upset, however, by the actions of an unfeeling teenager, who coldly shoots the dog during a robbery attempt. Stunned, Avery is left standing over the corpse of his friend, watching the boy and his cohorts as they saunter away, laughing.
Avery mourns, then gets angry. He pursues the young killer and his companions, only to find that the boys' parents and society in general care little for his loss. Increasingly frustrated, Avery decides to take matters into his own hands, leading to a tragic and bloody confrontation at book's end.
Once again, Ketchum tells a gripping tale the way only he can. I did notice, however, that Red had a more personal feel to it than previous efforts. Ketchum's style seems more expansive than in the past in the first two sections of the book, perhaps reflecting a greater emphasis on character development--Avery is probably the most carefully rendered character I've encountered in Ketchum's fiction. Ketchum then quickens the pace and returns to his more typical, lean prose in the final third of the book, as the tension mounts and the action becomes more explosive.
A true American original, Ketchum deserves your attention.
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