Kristen's Reviews > Old Flames

Old Flames by Jack Ketchum
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Jun 09, 08

bookshelves: horror, dorchester-book-club
Read in June, 2008

In reviewing this book let me tell you first of all that it is actually two novellas, I did not know that when I acquired it so I was a bit shocked when the first one ended and half the book was still left. The book is well written, as are all of Ketchum's novels, however I didn't feel that this was one of his better novels. It will always be hard to top "The Girl Next Door" but I felt myself very distanced from this book.

The first and title story is "Old Flames" where Dora who has been through a number of abusive relationships, seeks out an ex-boyfriend from high school. Unfortunately he is happily married with children... but Dora can't let that stand in her way. I had a difficult time with this story, not because it wasn't believable, but mainly because it was told from Dora's point of view and she was such a toon that as a reader I couldn't connect with her.

The second novella is "Right To Life" about a woman on the way to an abortion clinic who is kidnapped by people who want the baby... and more. The main character in this is Sara, a strong 40-something who is pregnant by her lover (of course he is married.) The people who kidnap her are complete toons... unfortunately this is not new... it is basically a rehash of "Girl Next Door" with a pregnant woman substituted in for the little girl.

After now having read several of Ketchum's novels it has dawned on me that he seems to think that adultery is a regular occurrence (almost as common as breathing), and should be punished and by terrible means, generally torture and/or the death of your family and loved ones. As I said before, this is VERY well written, the problem is that if you have read most of his other works, this doesn't feel at all new. And the angle that it is written from is a hard one to really dig your mind into. If you have read everything else he's written the feel free to get your Ketchum Buzz on, but just remember it's not one of his best.
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