by Jack Ketchum

The old man hears them before he sees them, the three boys coming over the hill, disturbing the peace by the river where he's fishing.

These aren't hunters, they're rich kids who don't care about the river and the fish and the old man.Or his dog.

And when the boys shoot the dog -- for nothing, for simple spite -- he sees red, like a mist before his eyes.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Horror
  • Rating: 3.94
  • Pages: 204
  • Publish Date: March 1st 2002 by Overlook Connection Press
  • Isbn10: 1892950472
  • Isbn13: 9781892950475

Read the Book "Red" Online

I had never read any Ketchum and I was eager to see why so many of my favorite authors gave props to him as being one of their biggest influences on their writing. I should have asked his fans which one to start with--but I didn't and I chose one of his most notorious books, "THE GIRL NEXT DOOR". I bought a bunch of paperbacks at Half Price Books and I showed them to some Ketchum fans and they said, "No, no, no...not those. Read RED." (Thank you Bracken MacLeod and Jonathan Janz for steering me through Ketchum's works) About a month ago, there it was! It's everything I love about books. Our furry friends that we bring into our homes and come to love as intimately as our own human family members, are a huge part of our lives--so it's not something the community should take lightly or shame people for not being able to handle reading about those things in fiction. That said, if you can get through the first fifteen pages-maybe skim over some of the descriptive language in one section, you can pretty much enjoy the rest of the book with no problems. The craziest thing to me is how in just fifteen pages, I got the full sense of what this dog, Red, meant to his owner Avery. By the time I finished the book, turned the last page, my whole reader's sole was pleasantly crushed to death under the weight of what I had just experienced over the last few days.

Red is the story of Avery Ludlow, an old widower out fishing, his trusty dog at his side, when he is set upon by three teenage boys intent on robbing him. This is the first Ketchum book I have read that was not necessarily a horror story, and it simply floored me.

Most of us go somewhat insane when someone messes with our child or our dog. He writes ever better thrillers. A story about a man who is pushed too far makes a much better book.

Having read Ketchum's The Girl Next Door this summer, I knew to expect a style of writing that just sings. I needn't have worried, Ketchum was able to move me right along in the story, tugging me by the hand as I travelled along the inevitable trajectory of events that Avery Ludlow found himself wrapped into. I was brought to tears of sadness and anger a few times. The even more sentimental part of me realizes that he lives on in the words of so many of the authors I have come to know and love.

Red is much more than the typical revenge story it touts itself as being. Its 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. The blurb reads like its a classic revenge tale, but its really not. Its not just about punishment and getting revenge, but something for the senseless act, even if its only an admission of guilt.

The publisher of this edition is a company called "47North". Okay, I didn't count the poor editing by the printing company in my review because that would be unfair to Ketchum and would not properly reflect on the story. This is actually 2 novella's in one book.

A solid 4+ star read and another winner from Mr. Ketchum.

A onetime actor, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk, Ketchum credited his childhood love of Elvis Presley, dinosaurs, and horror for getting him through his formative years. Ketchum worked many different jobs before completing his first novel (1980's controversial "Off Season"), including acting as agent for novelist Henry Miller at Scott Meredith Literary Agency.