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Red by Jack Ketchum

Red (edition 2002)

by Jack Ketchum

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2411147,848 (3.89)13
Authors:Jack Ketchum
Info:Leisure Books (2002), Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
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Red by Jack Ketchum



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When most people think of Jack Ketchum, they think of horror. You think of horror again when you read a book blurb that sounds like a more realistic, friendlier version of Pumpkinhead. So hey, it’s a horror story right?

Well, not really. Life has decided to stop being predictable after all. Red is much more than the typical revenge story it touts itself as being. Av doesn’t believe a crime can’t be forgiven, but he doesn’t believe in scapegoats, liars, or not manning up to your mistakes and accepting responsibility. This story stands on the shoulders of a larger one which is slowly revealed to the reader.

The protagonist is an older widow with only his small self-owned store, empty house, and old dog left. They keep each other company as they’ve aged together and seen their loved ones pass on. The sympathy stake is buried firmer since his wife died tragically, and the dog was a birthday present from her to him. It’s not just anger at the act, but at the senselessness of it that gets to both Av and the reader who follows him on the ride.

Ketchum writes with a slow, sweeping grace. His writing is literary, but I do hold qualms with some of his sentence lengths and comma aversions the first few chapters. Thankfully this settles down.

I applaud the slow, believable progression of anger. The blurb reads like it’s a classic revenge tale, but it’s really not. The story is more intricate that you’d believe as he goes through every channel he can to try and see the boys admit to what they did and apologize. It’s not just about punishment and getting revenge, but something for the senseless act, even if it’s only an admission of guilt. The psychology behind this comes out as the story unfolds and why this is so important to the man.

The ending is heartbreaking as it reaches its inevitable conclusion, all that could be avoided, as the consequences swing to full closure on the karma wheel.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I think I actually preferred the second novella, The Passenger, to Red. That's not to say I didn't enjoy Red. Maybe it's because Passenger feels an easy need for thrills and chills with a tidy, if sadistic, ending. Red disturbs you at a lower level as you try to interpret Ludlow's motivations, which are not as straight forward as a simple revenge story. He is a man dealing with resonating deaths that echo through his life, so when he finally calls for justice, it is not just for his dog but for his life. ( )
  DougGoodman | Apr 7, 2016 |
Wow! Two extremely powerful stories in one book that I could barely put down. I burned through the entire book in one day. First, the title story: RED. In the first few pages, Avery Ludlow loses his dog Red to some mean kids who shotgun it for no real reason. The rest of the story is about Ludlow and his search for justice. Not a "revenge above all us" type of justice but a true "put right what was wrong" type of justice. And what really carries the whole story forward and makes it work so well is Ludlow's character. Not just the character in the book but the personality and characteristics that make up this persona. He is incredibly real. The story just unfolds naturally with heart and truth. And that is what made me unable to put it down.

And then as a bonus, there is another story: THE PASSENGER. This one wasn't quite as rich as the first but it did grip you as you follow horror after horror befalling Janet Morris. Her bad day at work starts getting worse as her car breaks down on the way home and she quickly finds herself in one bad event after another. At times it reminded me of Joe Lansdale's short story "Steppin' Out, Summer, '68". If you liked that one (or probably any Lansdale), then you will like these stories. As for me, I'm hunting down more Ketchum novels because if all his stuff is like this, then he is going to quickly become one of my favorite authors. ( )
  dagon12 | Jan 19, 2015 |
A nice, quick read that kept me interested the entire way! "Red" is just plain and simple - don't fuck with a man's dog. Especially an old man and his old dog!
The second part of this book is the novella "The Passenger" which adheres to the old saying, don't hitch a ride - even in an emergency! Janet does, and well, all hell breaks loose for her! And quite a ride it turns out to be!
Good reads both, and definitely worth the time! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Feb 13, 2014 |
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Red (2008IMDb)
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"To ache is human, not polite."

Emily Dickinson
"Here I am Lord, I'm

Knocking at your place of business...

I know I got no business here..."

Paul simon
For Neil, Aggie, Beast, Vinnie, and Zoe--furry friends past and present. Daily tutors in the art of caring. And for the real Red, gone now, who saved my Uncle's life as Sam Berry's dog does here.
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The old man looked at the dog looking at him, watching his hands as they threaded the hook through the brown plastic worm to its bright orange tail, the old dog lying on the riverbank in a patch of late afternoon sunlight filtering through the trees.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0843950404, Mass Market Paperback)

A horror story with a cruelty-to-animals theme. The boys who shoot an old man's dog, just for spite, find that before the day is ended there will be plenty more blood spilt. From the author of ROAD KILL and ONLY CHILD.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

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