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Offspring by Jack Ketchum Review

Title: Offspring

Author: Jack Ketchum

First published November 15, 1991

248 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781892950789 (ISBN10: 1892950782)

Rating: 3.82


In the sequel to Off Season, Jack Ketchum brings us back to the coast of Maine where the notorious Family still reigns. Despite the efforts of the local sheriff to eradicate them, the savage tribe has somehow managed to survive and their bloodlust has only grown.

With their primitive ways and insatiable hunger, they continue to prey on the peaceful residents of Dead River who had sought refuge from the outside world. The battle for survival has only just begun in this heart-pounding horror novel that will leave you on edge until the very end.

About the Author

Jack Ketchum was a well-known American horror fiction author, whose real name was Dallas William Mayr. He was a four-time Bram Stoker Award recipient and had been nominated for the award three more times.

Some of his most famous novels, including Off Season, Offspring, and Red, were adapted into movies. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the horror genre, Ketchum was awarded the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award in 2011.

As a child, Ketchum loved Elvis Presley, dinosaurs, and horror, which he credited with helping him navigate his early years. He spent a lot of time in his room or in the woods near his home, where he would create stories using his plastic soldiers, knights, and dinosaurs as characters.

Ketchum was later mentored by Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho, during his teenage years.

Before he wrote his first novel, Off Season, Ketchum had worked in various jobs, including teaching, acting as a literary agent for Henry Miller, selling lumber, and working as a soda jerk. Writing novels offered him the stability and longevity he desired, and he eventually focused on writing full-time.

Sadly, Ketchum passed away on January 24, 2018, in New York City at the age of 71 after battling cancer.

Editoral Review

Offspring by Jack Ketchum is a horror novel first published in 1991. Ketchum is a prolific author of horror fiction, known for his visceral and uncompromising approach to the genre.

Offspring is a sequel to Ketchum’s novel Off Season, and continues the story of a group of feral cannibals terrorizing a small coastal town in Maine. The novel is a prime example of the horror genre, featuring brutality, violence, and graphic descriptions of gore.

Ketchum’s writing style is unflinching, with no subject or detail too gruesome for description. The themes of the book are dark and disturbing, delving into the primal, violent nature of human beings.

The plot of Offspring revolves around a group of feral cannibals who emerge from the woods to terrorize a small coastal town. The main characters are a group of townspeople who band together to fight off the cannibals, including a police officer, a schoolteacher, and a young girl who is kidnapped by the cannibals.

The setting is rural Maine, which is described with vivid detail, emphasizing the isolation and vulnerability of the town to the cannibals’ attacks. The novel is a commentary on the savagery that can arise from within human beings, particularly when pushed to their limits.

Ketchum’s portrayal of the cannibals is particularly effective, humanizing them to a certain extent while still portraying them as vicious predators. The novel also touches on themes of community, survival, and sacrifice in the face of extraordinary circumstances.

Ketchum’s writing is undeniably skilled, portraying the horror and violence in Offspring with an unflinching eye. The pacing is relentless, with the tension building throughout until a final, explosive climax.

The characters are well-drawn and sympathetic, making the reader invested in their fate. The themes of the novel are complex and thought-provoking, making Offspring more than just a gratuitously violent horror novel.

However, the graphic violence and brutal subject matter of Offspring will not be to everyone’s taste. The novel is particularly unsuitable for sensitive or younger readers, containing scenes of extreme violence and gore.

Additionally, some readers may find the portrayal of the cannibals to be stereotypical and offensive. Overall, Offspring is a chilling and effective horror novel that will satisfy fans of the genre.

Ketchum’s unflinching writing and well-drawn characters make the novel a standout in the genre, while its themes of violence and savagery still resonate today. However, readers who are uncomfortable with graphic violence or stereotypical portrayals of marginalized groups may want to steer clear.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.