Monday, January 12, 2009

The smell of death is all around

I have been looking for some new horror writers, and on a recommendation I tried Jack Ketchum. I read his short story collection called Closing Time and I thought it was pretty good. Ketchum is best known for ultraviolence and his fans are especially enamored of the Girl Next Door, which is based on the real life murderer Gertrude Baniszewski. Closing Time is more subdued, although the stories frequently revolve around the sudden shock of violence in ordinary life. I liked quite a few of them and will be looking for his Peaceable Kingdom, another short story collection.

Something was missing though as I read. I realized that I kept waiting for the supernatural elements. When I look at the horror novelists that really grab me, like Lovecraft and King, they all focus on cosmic or supernatural horror. My favorite horror movie? The Exorcist. I am clearly an escapist when it comes to horror. Ketchum is focused on the evil that men do. For that sort of thing, I tend to prefer crime novels. Still for those wanting a close look at cruelty, Ketchum is a good bet.

No comments: