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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  829 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Hoping to escape from her abusive ex-husband, a woman and her lover successfully carry out their plot to murder him, only to find themselves at the mercy of an obsessive, twisted stranger who witnessed the crime.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1994)
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Querus Abuttu
"You're not going to believe this," he said to Rule. “We got a shooting out on I-89. Lady in a station wagon. Is this piece-of-shit day never gonna end?”
~Joyride - by Jack Ketchum (2010)


There are not many books I give a 5 star too. This is an exception. I put off reviewing this novel for a couple of reasons. One: I'm often one of the first to submit a review before reading other writers' critiques in my SHU program. I decided to do things differently this time. Second: I'm afraid I'm a real
Daniel Russell
I’m going to be honest in the reasoning in my reasons for buying Jack Ketchum’s Joyride. My cheapness in pages per dollar came into my decision not to buy the very short novella, Weed Species. Looking at the cover and seeing these epically evil plants (and I love my plant based horror, apart from the horrendously frustrating Garden of Evil by Edmund Le Plante – which I hope is a pseudonym!) it was hard to resist.
But along comes Leisure who have released an impressive catalogue of Ketchum’s work,
Jack Ketchum delivers an incredible, emotionally devastating novel yet again. Ketchum is a horror writer by title, but his writing is so artful, and rings so true emotionally that I would just call him an amazing novelist period. He goes so deep into the reasons people do what they do, that is the reason so much of his writing is so disturbing. The characters could so easily be real people. The kind of horror Ketchum delivers is based more on the terrible undercurrents in our society, not on the ...more
Kasia S.
Ketchum is quite satisfying when I reach for his stories; the horror and gore are based on things that with some stretch of really bad luck could really happen to someone which he balances on that too close to comfort crossing line perfectly. Joyride has a few murderers in it and some you hate and despise and the others you root for, crazy yes, you do want some of the characters to be okay, the story is twisted and even though it’s a good read it’s not his most visceral. This goes easy on the us ...more
This book is a box of psychological hell. Savage brutality, nihilistic sadists, and very potent writing await you in this one. Jack Ketchum is a sick man, but he's so damned good at it. You are really thrust deep into terror with no chance to catch your breath. The prose is so deftly constructed, not one word is wasted. The book is about a man teeetering on the edge of lunacy that witnesses a wife and her lover kill the evil husband, then decides that it looks like fun. He kidnaps the two for a ...more
Definitely shines--since it is a Ketchum book--and contains a great deal of violence that is never cast in a leering, sexualized or remotely exploitative light. Interesting characters and interesting situations, plus lots of Ketchum's signature Rising To The Occasion--characters thrust into horrible situations and then attempting, however they can, to try to hurdle the obstacles set in their path.

However, it's not one of his strongest works. Passages are a bit clunky, lacking the smoothly polish
Juliet Davis
Wayne and Susan are hiking together when he suddenly starts choking her. He stops just before he kills her. Stunned Susan catches her breath and runs from him. Wayne feels like a failure for stopping his death hold on a human he has killed animals before, but still has not tasted his first human. --- Soon after that Wayne witnesses a man and a woman kill another man. He realizes the female is Carole, who is a regular at the Black Locust Tavern where he works as a bartender. She was using a Louis ...more
I forgot how harrowing the end of this book was. The first time I read it is was in the Leisure paperback with Weed Species. Although these stories are somewhat similar in tone (very bleak), I think it was a bad idea to bundle them together, or at least, if not a bad idea, the reader should be warned to put some time in between them to properly absorb the full visceral and emotional impact of Joyride. I found that I enjoyed it much more on a second read all by itself.
Misty Battle
This book starts off painfully slow. When the action starts off it lacks real terror. It was more of random, scattered events. I would have liked more character depth, and detail. There were hints of sexual abuse, but never really explains. I had a hard time relating to any of the characters. Not one of Ketchum's best works.

The extra short story at the end of the book however, was powerful. That is why I gave this 3 stars.
Scott Emerson
JOYRIDE (aka ROADKILL) is not Ketchum's best work, but it's still a solid, entertaining read that rockets along at a fast clip. It's definitely worth a look, but the highlight of this volume is the inclusion of "Weed Species," a bonus novella that's as disturbing, cold, and ultimately insightful as THE GIRL NEXT DOOR or "Right to Life." It's worth the cover price alone.
This was a terrific, fast-paced read. More depth to the characters then you normally see in a book like this. Great pace and suspense and some shocking violence at times, it was a very effective book.
Not my favorite by Ketchum, I actually enjoyed Weed Species more. Oh well, it was still readable.
Mike Kazmierczak
I don't think that I've been disappointed by a Jack Ketchum book. Some are extremely intense and grisly (THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and OFFSPRING both jump to mind). Others are slower moving but still grisly. Maybe this difference can be explained as the story having an element of likelihood to it. Most of his story have an element of this could happen with some really bad luck; this is as opposed to wow, I really was a neighbor to that serial killer, gun-toting teenager, crazed homeless person, whomeve ...more
Like most Ketchum novels, this story unfolds around a simple plot: A man with a murderous heart has been keeping a list of names for a future retaliation. One day, he witnesses two stranger murder someone and try to cover it up. Inspired by the kill, he takes his list of names, along with a few weapons, and takes the two strangers captive for his joyride. He feels a strong connection with the two since they have actually done something he has only dreamed of. Now, they will be there for his brut ...more
"Joyride" was a wild, well told journey of a couple who is kidnapped after being viewed killing a man by a crazed psychotic who wants to kill but has yet to get the courage up to do so. He believes these two are kindred spirits and his friends. After all, they did kill a man. But for what reasons? And are the pyschotic's reasons for killing any worse. Well, yes they are. As is usual with Ketchum's stories the characters pop right off the page. He (Ketchum) delves inside of them exposing the char ...more
Scott Johnson
ack Ketchum has a rabid fan base and a pretty damned good pedigree. After all, we are talking about the guy Stephen King called the "scariest man in America." With his new book, Joyride, the story isn't so much "scary" as it is "batshit crazy," and Ketchum makes it work. Horrifying? Certainly.

Joyride is the story of Carole and Lee who decide to murder Carole's abusive husband, Howard. After careful planning and a trip out to an isolated hiking area, they do the deed, dump the body, and walk away
I really enjoyed Ketchum's novel Red, and his novel The Girl Next Door is one of the most brutal and intense horror novels I have ever read. I was excited to crack open this book, but in the end I was disappointed.
Joyride is the story of Carole and her lover Lee. No matter how Carole's powerful ex-husband harasses her, or in some cases violently attacked and raped her, he gets away with it every time. Lee and Carole make the decision to pull off the perfect murder. Unfortunately, a bartender, Wa
David Agranoff
Joyride by Jack Ketchum
304 pages (including a bonus novella Weed Species)
Re-issue of 1995 novel (AKA Roadkill)

I really enjoyed Ketchum's novel Red, and let me just say that his novel “the Girl Next Door” is one of the most brutal and intense horror novels I ever read. I was excited to crack open this book, but in the end I was disappointed. Joyride is the story of Carole and her lover Lee. Carole's powerful ex-husband wouldn't leave her alone, and no matter how he harassed her, or in some
Melissa Helwig
Jack Ketchum frequently uses true crime stories as inspiration for his novels. Off Season is based on the legend of the Sawney Bean family, The Girl Next Door tells the horrors that befell Sylvia Likens and this novel, Joyride, is derived from Howard Unruh's killing spree. In Ketchum's afterward, he reveals that he found his story (and the story of Sylvia Likens) in Bloodletters and Badmen by Jay Robert Nash.

Usually Ketchum's combination of real-life terror and an interesting "what if" scenario
Joshua Buhs
After _The Girl Next Door_ I went back to my local used bookstore. This was the only other Ketchum on the shelf. It was not as good, and substantiated some of the criticisms that I had of _Girl._ Still, it was good, an engaging, easy read.

In the afterword, Ketchum says he got the idea for the book from Zola's La Bete Humaine, which includes a scene in which a man watches two people murder someone and then vows to meet them. I suppose there could a be a lot of Zola in this book--I haven't read mu
Rob Boley
Joyride starts as a straightforward tale of murder, a desperate ex-wife's final bid for freedom from her hateful ex-husband, but then takes an unexpected sharp turn into madness. A lunatic witnesses the murder, and it inspires him to start the killing spree he's always dreamed of. Also pulled into the fray is the lawman Rule, who's easily the story's most powerful character. Rule's dual conflict - with his own nature and with the story's antagonist - are the heart of this book.
Ben Smith
You know how sometimes you're hungry but don't want anything too big or heavy so you skip the big meal and just settle for a sandwich?
Well that's what splatterpunk is to me: it's a snack!

Road Kill (or Joyride) is a 183 page novel that scoffs at character development, frowns at over long plots and instead offers you as much violence, gore and fast paced, fucked up action as your stomach can handle.

Sure, the characters lack depth but with a book like this all you need to know is there's bad guy
Robert A.
This is the story of a serial killer but not one who operates in the usual way. Wayne is on a killing spree, finding victims of opportunity as he drives along on his "joyride." He is not alone, however; he has taken two prisoners who he wants to be witnesses to his evil. They are a woman and her lover who he has seen murder her vliolent ex-husband. The novel moves rapidly from one senseless killing to another with a degree of suspense. It hold the reader's attention. The characters are straight ...more
Becky Ippolito
Like Stephen King, Ketchum is excellent with characterization. Teh people in his stories become easily real. The plots themselves are terrifying. What I find lacking again though is more- I feel like his stories just rush on by and are quickly over before you get to savor them. In joyride, a necessarily murder is witnessed by a crazed main who is obsessed with the pleasure of the kill. This man, who had some kind of horrific childhood with a crazed mother (this is one part that definitely could ...more
This was not the usual Ketchum novel. The book is about Lee and Carole, who kill Carole's abusive ex-husband. The murder is witnessed by Wayne Lock, who thinks these two are sadistic killers who can relate to him. So he kidnaps them and goes on a killing spree. Sounds more like a crime novel than a horror novel, and read kind of like a police procedural.

Though the book is well-written with a good climax, the characters were very under-developed. The reason behind a serial killer's actions is us
JOYRIDE is a sleek, nasty horror thriller with a nice setup (borrowed from another novel) and a disappointingly mindless payoff (borrowed from horrific real-life events and definitely not recommended for anyone even remotely squeamish). The book features several important characters, but, once the story gets going, only the villain is given anything really interesting to do. Ketchum should have just trimmed this down to novella length rather than devote so much time to detailing the inconsequent ...more
Well, that was the first Jack Ketchum book I've read. The first half to two-thirds of it seemed very, very familiar, so I'm guessing I've started this book before and for some reason didn't finish it the first time.
I'm not a fan of 'human horror' generally. I used to be, somewhat, but not anymore. But, this one was good. True, I found all the deaths very disturbing, in a way that I don't at all while reading supernatural horror, but despite this I enjoyed the book.
I'm quite aware of Mr Ketchum'
This is a pretty good kill book. The plot depends on one whopping great coincidence--a desperate couple who murder her abusive ex just happen to have that crime witnessed by a budding sociopath who takes what he sees as the final push he needs to become a full-fledged murderer himself and kidnaps the couple to participate in his spree--but other than that, it unfolds with a cold and horrific logic and generally good characterization. Filled out by a novella, "Weed Species," which borrows heavily ...more
Genevieve Speegle

While his books are definitely not for everyone (especially the squeamish), I sometimes find myself in the mood for a little Ketchum (I usually have to take a 2 year break in between books).

My favorite of his books will always be "Girl Next Door". The story was heartbreaking and so difficult to read, but it's stayed with me to this day.

I downloaded Joyride on my Kindle and read it in about two days. It's a fast-paced ride about a woman who, along with the help of her boyfriend, kills her terribl
Jackie Primo
Turned out to be way better than I's now one of my favorite Ketchum books. It's a definite must read!
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 3 13 Dec 03, 2014 09:02AM  
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Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for a former actor, singer, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk -- a former flower child and baby boomer who figures that in 1956 Elvis, dinosaurs and horror probably saved his life. His first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is per ...more
More about Jack Ketchum...
The Girl Next Door Off Season The Lost Red Offspring: The Sequel to Off Season

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