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Red


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Jack Ketchum book by far-full of beautiful emotion
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...
Published on December 16, 2000 by Orlando Bookworm

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Red & The Passenger
Jack Ketchum unfolds a story of an old man (Ludlow) who is out fishing with his dog, Red. Three boys happen by and Danny callously shoots Red. Ludlow goes through the story trying to get a reason and apology for why the boys did this. Ludlow tries seeking the legal justice way of doing it but with minor misdemeanors as the potential result, Ludlow seeks to take things...
Published on August 23, 2007 by R. Howell


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Jack Ketchum book by far-full of beautiful emotion, December 16, 2000
This review is from: Red (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Ketchum Does It Again, January 20, 2003
This review is from: Red (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. What starts with veiled threats quickly moves into the realm of broken windows, broken ribs, and armed confrontation with a predictable elegiac outcome.
"Red" is a sad story. Anyone who owns a pet will cringe when Red dies a violent, needless death. In fact, Ketchum is probably counting on this event to instill a killing rage in the reader. Are there any pet owners who would not feel Avery warranted in his quest for justice, any type of justice, for his dead dog? Ketchum wants us to sympathize with Avery right from the start, something that is easy to do when we meet the father of the boys who killed Red. Ketchum garners further sympathy from the reader when Avery's attempt to get redress through legal channels comes to nothing. Even a story about Red on the local news fails to remedy the situation. Ketchum fishes for our empathy at every turn of the story as Avery seeks restitution for the death of Red.
About the only unbelievable element of the story is Avery's relationship with a loud-mouthed New Yorker serving time as a reporter at the local television station. This relationship seems to come out of nowhere, apparently as a means for Avery to tell the reader about the family tragedy that claimed his wife and two sons.
The McCormack family, Avery's nemesis throughout the story (two of the boys are members of the family), suffers from a lack of detailed development. Ketchum continually hints at evil doings within the family but we never see anything concrete until the final showdown between the McCormack clan and Avery. For example, the McCormack's maid has a maimed hand, implying that the McCormack's had something to do with her injury. Regrettably, this chance for an excellent flashback story never appears. Perhaps a longer version of "Red" (it is currently 211 pages in mass market form) would shed light on this aspect of the McCormack family.
Purchasing this copy of "Red" treats you to a bonus short story, entitled "The Passenger." This grim tale of a murderous crime spree and bloody revenge should remind most readers of the Ketchum they know and love.
Janet is a young lawyer defending a scumbag in a murder case. Janet is a little angry that her sometime boyfriend Alan fools around on her every chance he gets. Her personal life quickly becomes insignificant when her car breaks down on the way home, where she gets a lift from Marion, an old high school acquaintance who turns out to be a complete wacko after suffering years of abuse from bad boyfriends. When the two hook up with a trio of vicious thugs on the run from the law the story descends into murder, madness, and mayhem.
Ketchum weaves several independent story threads into a seamless voyage into the dark underbelly of American life. This story should remind Ketchumites of his novel "Joyride," another tale of murder on the highway. The big difference here is the coldly calculated revenge Janet wreaks on her tormentors at the end of the story. The inclusion of this story here is much appreciated, as Ketchum's writings in any form are sometimes difficult to find.
What we find in this mass-market paperback is both the old and the new Jack Ketchum. Prepare yourself for suspense and bloody horror with the purchase of this book. Pick up this edition of "Red" before it goes out of print with the concomitant rise in price that will entail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Red & The Passenger, August 23, 2007
This review is from: Red (Mass Market Paperback)
Jack Ketchum unfolds a story of an old man (Ludlow) who is out fishing with his dog, Red. Three boys happen by and Danny callously shoots Red. Ludlow goes through the story trying to get a reason and apology for why the boys did this. Ludlow tries seeking the legal justice way of doing it but with minor misdemeanors as the potential result, Ludlow seeks to take things into his own hands. The back cover of this book got me interested enough to read it but the story remains clean and tempting but Ketchum refrains from his usually intimate details of pain and death this time out.

"Red" is a 211 page novella really but with the bonus feature of a 93 page short story "The Passenger" added on to fill out the page count most of the public expects now. While "Red" was an intriguing story of a man seeking out answers and retribution, "The Passenger" is actually the better of the two stories for me. It's a little grimier and intense as lawyer Janet suffers a car breakdown and is picked up by an old high school acquaintance (Marian). They witness the murder of a law enforcement officer along the road and Marian is actually turned on by this and picks up the three aggressors (Emil, Billy, and Ray). What follows is a hectic run of criminal acts and mayhem before the conclusion.

Overall, "Red" held my interest enough to read it but would only get 2 stars. "The Passenger" was more to my liking and borders on a 4 star story. Buy the book for "Red" but enjoy the book for "The Passenger".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and disturbing novel, August 26, 2002
By 
FloozyFlapper1926 (Somewhere in the 20's) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Red (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Does An Admirable Job, December 15, 2006
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This review is from: Red (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare I say it? A kinder, gentler Ketchum., August 22, 2001
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This review is from: Red (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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Kind of Horror, September 22, 2002
By 
Sebastien Pharand (Orléans, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red (Mass Market Paperback)
Jack Ketchum has become one of the most important and most original voice in horror fiction. His books aren't about monsters with claws and fangs, or ghosts or aliens. No, his books touch upon the most terrifying kind of horror; realistic violence and the darkness that often lives deep within us.
Red is no exception. When Ludlow goes fishing with his old mutt Red, the last thing he imagined was that this would soon become the most horrible day of his life. While he is fishing, Ludlow encounters three teenage boys. Their only intent is to cause havoc on everyone and everything that comes in their way. The boys murder Ludlow's dog when they find out that Ludlow does not have any money to give them.
Ludlow goes to the boys's families in their hopes that their parents will punish the boys, but they won't do anything about it. He tries going to the law, but they tell him that there's nothing they can do about it either since there were no witnesses. All Ludlow wants is an apology, to see that these boys are sorry about what they've done. Unfortunately for him, his quest turns into a complete nightmare, one that will end with blood, violence and a death.
This quiet horror novel is one of the most powerful read I've had the pleasure of setting my eyes upon in a very long time. This novel digs deep into the old man's soul as we, too, join him in his quest. Ludlow doesn't really want revenge, though he will be thrown right into this bloody mess that will get completely out of hands.
This is one of Ketchum's best effort and I am more than happy to finally see it in print in America. This book also includes a short novella, The Passenger, which is a little more graphic and fast-paced than Red, but that is nonetheless very entertaining. This is Ketchum at his very best. Don't let this one pass you by!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Short Novels, Both Pretty Darn Red, July 22, 2014
This review is from: Red (Kindle Edition)
I wish that the listing of the book had explained what it really was before I bought it. So I'm going to mention it here. I buy a huge amount of books for my kindle, and I look for the longest book I can find that interests me, for the price. The description of this book gave a 300 plus page count, so I was expecting a good full-length novel.

In fact, the novel advertised, "Red" ends quite abruptly. The last hundred or so pages are another story, called "The Passenger" which is a more hardcore proposition. I just joined the kindle Unlimited program, and I'm in my free trial stage, so this is my third pick from the fairly limited assortment of books available under that program.
I liked Ketchum's book "The Girl Next Door" so I tried this one. I like his writing skill. I don't have any problem with his subject matter, I love horror if it's extremely well-written, and stays away from the really offensive topics, which, for me, are not violence or sex, or even violent sex, but bigotry, racism, and other forms of true ignorance.
I wanted to set people straight on what this book contains. I'm certainly happy that I chose it, I feel it's right up there with early Stephen King and would suggest it to readers that love a well-crafted horror tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ketchum strikes again!, February 23, 2007
This review is from: Red (Mass Market Paperback)
Leave it to Jack Ketchum to take a formulaic premise and to turn it into a great story. Red is the tale of Avery Allan Ludlow whose dog, Red, gets shot by three kids. They kill the dog out of meanness and send Ludlow on the path of revenge, leaving no stone unturned.

A classic yarn of revenge. A short, fast read, Ketchum's Red is poignant and well written. This one ranks up there with his best books. Not anywhere near as violent or graphic as, say, The Girl Next Door or The Lost, but true to Ketchum's writing style.

Red is 211 pages long and features a bonus novella titled The Passenger, 93 pages long for a total of 304 pages. The Passenger is the story of Janet, a lawyer whose car breaks down on the way home. She gets picked up by Marion, an old high school acquaintance who's got more than a few screws loose. Let's just say they'll encounter a lot of trouble on the way home.

The Passenger is equally good but at the opposite end of the spectrum. Where Red was slower in development and action, this one moves at full speed and never slows down. Bottom line; you get two great stories for the price of one. Either one is worth the price of the book so what are you waiting for, get your copy today!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Red is a dog-gone great read, September 7, 2005
This review is from: Red (Mass Market Paperback)
Animal lovers, be warned: This book is not always an easy read for those of us who think people who harm our four-legged friends should get a "go-directly-to-hades" pass. But this is also a book in which animal advocates finally get their day (as do those who, like me, are tired of watching the youth of America run roughshod over those around them).

Red is the story of a man who watches as his best friend, a beautiful dog, is viciously murdered and sets out to get justice. It's as simple and, on some levels, as complex as that. To say more is to say too much.

As an added bonus, the version of Red which I read (paperback) came with an additional novella titled The Passenger which introduces one of the most horrific characters I've ever enountered in fiction. What makes Marian Lane such a terrifying creation is that she is all too real. This is not an axe-wielding murderer or a won't-stay-dead-when-shot villainess, but rather the woman who might live down the block. That woman whom you've occasionally noticed has an odd twinkle in her eye and you can't quite explain why, but it scares the bejesus out of you.

When Marion crosses paths with a former school chum, Janet, who is in need of a lift, The Passenger quickly turns into a suspenseful tale in which one woman's world is turned completely upside down as she fights for her survival against the kind of sociopaths we all spend our lives hoping never to meet.

Two tales. Two completely different tones. One fantastic read!
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Red
Red by Jack Ketchum (Mass Market Paperback - August 1, 2002)
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