Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hide and Seek by Jack Ketchum

Still got a bit of a logjam, so I'd better keep churning these out.  This is a pretty short horror novel, and I've been looking out for this guy Ketchum ever since I saw The Woman at Frightfest 2011.  This book isn't as good as that (few things are) but it's still got plenty going for it.

It's set in Maine - familiar enough territory for horror fans - sometime in the 70s or 80s.  It's narrated by Dan, a young man working a blue collar job who falls in with some rich students his own age.  He falls hard for one of them - Casey - who's messed up and likes taking risks.  They shoplift caviar and go skinny dipping, before Casey convinces them all to play a game of hide and seek in an old house where something creepy happened a few years before.  Great idea.

What works really well is the relationship between the characters, and Dan's narration.  He's very much like a film noir character who knows full well the dame is trouble but just can't help himself.  The whole group has a very unusual but convincing dynamic, which of course is just how a novel like this should be - make you care about the people before turning the screws.  Right out the Stephen King handbook.

Fans of The Woman will find some of the same motifs here, but those would constitute spoilers.  My only criticism is the great set up and the horror towards the end don't really seem to gel.  When you've painted the characters so well, I was expecting a bit more from the shocking denoument.

This is my second download on Audible, after the King one with the stupid date.  Enjoying it so far, pretty easy to use and a good selection.  The reading's been good as well.  I find it tough to listen to music as I get older, so this kind of thing is perfect for long car journeys.  Unfortunately it means I'm now generally on three books at a time - paper, kindle and audio.  Which is why I need to keep rattling these reviews out.

No comments: