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The Woman Hardcover – January 30, 2012

101 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Dead River Series

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Editorial Reviews


 “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.”—Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly

“Ketchum has become a kind of hero to those of us who write tales of horror and suspense. He is, quite simply, one of the best in the business.” —Stephen King

“You never know what you'll get when you pick up a Ketchum story … but you can be sure you'll always be surprised – and scared."  – Publishers Weekly
“[The Girl Next Door is] one of the most disturbing reads in the history of horror literature.” –Rue Morgue
“Jack Ketchum is one of America’s best and most consistent writers of contemporary horror fiction.”—Bentley Little

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jack Ketchum’s debut novel, Off Season(1981)—an updating of the Sawney Beane story—prompted The Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher for publishing violent pornography. Since then, he has published 12 additional novels and several short story collections.He has won numerous Stoker Awards, including Best Collection 2003 (Peaceable Kingdom), Best Long Fiction 2003 (Closing Time), Best Short Fiction 2000 (Gone), and Best Short Fiction 1994 (The Box. Four of his books were recently filmed as movies: The Lost (2001), The Girl Next Door (2005), Red (2008) and Offspring (2009).

Lucky McKee wrote and directed the cult favorite May, which in turn got him selected to write and direct an episode (Sick Girl) in the first season of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series, alongside such directors as Tobe Hooper, Dario Argento, Joe Dante, John Landis, and John Carpenter. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications; Special edition (January 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587672537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587672538
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,713,505 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

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Christina on February 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have never written a review before, but felt compelled to write one after reading this book. This is the first book I've ever read by this author, but it will not be my last. I didn't want to put this one down and had it read in one day. It kept my attention from beginning to end. It is a dark book and not for the squeamish, but if you like dark, psychological-type books you should love this one. I know I did!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would have finished this book in one sitting if I didn't have to sleep and go to work. I have read a lot of Ketchum's work and this is my new favorite. This book has everything a horror reader wants; from psychological thrills to downright gore.

I'll be interested to see the movie if I can get my hands on it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Grelber37 on February 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you a Jack Ketchum fan? Have you seen the film Offspring or The Woman? If so, you might like the novel The Woman. A Ketchum fan can catch 'im there. Whether you read the prose or see the film, the plot, images, and reading/viewing experience are very nearly the same. However, the book varies in six important ways from McKee's film. I liked both the film and the book.

The book is a different literary adventure in six ways. One, Genevieve Raton has more of a backstory.
Two, the Cow character has an entire novella (forty-two pages) re-introducing him after Offspring. The Cow does not appear in Lucky McKee's The Woman.
Three, the film is more gruesome in two scenes (e.g. Brian torturing The Woman with handtools), and the book is superlatively more gruesome in one (Jack Ketchum, I salute you. You shocked, creeped, and freaked me out, man).
Four, Ketchum's text translates The Woman's language and elucidates her inner thoughts. You can decide which is more unsettling: not knowing what she says and think, or knowing full-well while the characters around her stupidly don't understand the human beast with whom they have trifled.
Five, the book adds details to the film's opening scene. For the film, a person needs to interpret the opening scene, and that analysis is one kind of pleasure. In the book, the same scene is fully presented and explained, and such clarity is likewise a pleasure.
Also, MAJOR SPOILER, Ketchum's book tells readers who the father of Peg's child is. Uber-bastard Cleek has repeatedly raped his own daughter. With this revelation, the book offers further feminist discussion about abusive patriarchs
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Savieri on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When possible, I am always a person that can read a book before seeing the film. But this book is an even more special case as I bought and read the uncut editions of Off Season and Offspring a few years ago and to be honest, they are one of the two best books I have ever read! They are horror at its finest. Addictive, interesting, gory and relentless. They make Stephen King look like fluffy bunnies and pink umbrellas. They follow the story of a group of primitive people, a family that live out in the woods and live and act in a prehistoric manner. They mark their territory, they make weapons out of bones, they have sex to breed and they are cannibals as well as fine hunters that never miss their mark. Off Season is about this family coming further inland and killing a group that have come up for a break. The second book, Off Spring is similar, but they attack a family in their newly bought house, as well as others in the area. These books are terrifying and so graphic. They make me want to close the doors, make sure they are locked and I can never read these books in the bath because they honestly make me feel far too exposed. Anything else I can read without a problem but Ketchum, his books have such bite. The Woman is the third of this series, where at the end of Off Spring a woman is the only survivor, she escapes while the rest of her family are killed. This book follows her story.

The Woman has fled the area where her family were caught and killed, she is badly injured and settles in a cave for shelter, she tends to her wounds and tires to set herself up to start again, lonely, longing her family she is at her weakest. That is when Mr Cleek comes along, a family man who likes to go hunting from time to time. He spots her and watches her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TimothyMayer on August 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The final entry into Jack Ketchum's Dead River trilogy, The Woman, was published recently. Since the movie version emerged at the same time, and since both film and book credit Lucky McKee as the co-writer, I assume both were produced together. I wouldn't call the novel a "tie-in" book, but they seem to work simultaneously. So similar are book and movie that they can be considered one production.

In the opening chapter of The Woman, we discover "The Woman" of the last novel miraculously survived a knife strike. Given the description of her dispatch in Offspring, this is a little hard to believe, but it's not the first time a monster has lived again to terrorize another day.

Some of the chapters are told from her point of view, but a leader of a feral cannibal clan which has survived by avoiding civilization has a limited frame of reference. You'd have more insight into a black panther as it regards it's prey from the other side of a cage.

We're also introduced to a family named Cleek: Christopher, the lawyer dad; Belle, the stay-at-home mom; Peggy, the troubled teenager; Brian, the even more troubled teenager; and Darlin', the innocent preschooler. They all live on a big isolated farm in Maine, the scene of the last two novels. There is something bad wrong with this family from the very intro. This is also the second time Ketchum has used a scumbag lawyer in the series. Draw your own conclusions.

The opening scenes are apple pie until Mr. Cleek, out hunting alone, spies the woman bathing in a stream. He decides to take her prisoner and turns his old root cellar into a prison. He doesn't even tell the family why he needs the cellar cleaned, they just do it out of duty and fear.

Cleek's hunting alone adds a sense of foreboding to the novel.
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