Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rest In Peace Jack Ketchum


Shocked to hear the news.

It seems like every horror writer has a "When I met Dallas (his true name) story." That's because you can't forget the way he made you feel. I was standing there in a circle of folks, the discussion was "Favorite Stephen King Book" and out of the blue he pointed to me and asked which was my favorite. (I chose The Long Walk). He had a charm about him, a quietness, but still waters run deep, and his books. Oh, his books. "Who is the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum," Stephen King so aptly said. 

There was little supernatural horrors to be found in his stories, there was only true horrors. The darkness that humans are capable of. And it is my belief that he wrote these not because he had a darkness to him, but a softness, or at least a sensitivity, that made him feel these horrors deeper.  Of course, the content would be nothing without his craft, which is what truly set him apart. The Girl Next Door should not be confused with shock horror, for its detachment, its point of view, and the fact it is based on a true story is what is the real takeaway. While reading Peaceable Kingdom I wrote Dallas with questions or comments about the stories, and he responded in kind. It made for an incredible reading experience. His last book with Lucky Mckee, Secret Life of Souls, had his signature dark sweetness (and a love for pets).

Jack gave me an author blurb that I cling to pretty hard.  He submitted one of his stories to Garden of Fiends . These are just two small ways he has touched me. There are hundreds of writers out there feeling the same, all one collective sigh of grief.  Dallas is who I point to as an example that the darkest of writers have the finest of hearts.

Rest in Peace. Although it feels like you are watching me now. 

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