Sunday, June 3, 2012

Book Review: Hide and Seek

Jack Ketchum has been a horror writer on my radar for some time now - actually for almost a decade, his novel The Lost went up against Neil Gaiman's American Gods for the Bram Stoker award for Best Novel back in 2001 and from that point on I thought I picked up a couple of his books here and there during used-bookstore runs over the years, waiting until I have a few in publication order to check them out.

A few months ago I read his first novel, Off Season, which was both quite good and really graphically horrific.  Let's just say I wouldn't recommend it to someone new to the genre, it was a modern (well, 1981) retelling of the legend of Sawney Bean (which you can read about here!) The book was both acclaimed by horror writers and censored like crazy.

Unfortunately, that kind of attention for a first novel meant that his second, Hide and Seek, was much harder for me to find during my expeditions to used-bookstores and eventually I simply broke down and ordered myself a copy.

Hide and Seek is a coming of age story that builds a surprising level of character development into 165 pages and ends with a grown up version of the children's game that goes horribly, horribly wrong.

The story follows a young man in a small town who has a summer romance with a girl who is both captivating and clearly emotionally damaged almost from the start.  Throughout the whole book there is a building atmosphere of horror as you know something just terrible is going to happen to this couple, and when it hits, it's really bad.

The thing that really struck me about this book was just how great the character development was, there were all these quiet moments and shocking moments and in a lot of ways it was really easy to fall into this whirlwind romance, increadibly intense and really real feeling.

If you can get your hands on it, this is a really engrossing read, but I will warn you, it gets pretty hard to read towards the end.

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