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The Woman

(Dead River Series #3)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,616 ratings  ·  177 reviews
The Woman is the last of her kind, the lone survivor of a tribe of feral cannibals who have terrorized the Maine coast for years. She is wounded and weak, but she's found refuge in a cave overlooking the sea. Christopher Cleek is an amoral—and unstable—lawyer who sees her bathing in a stream one day while he's out hunting. Cleek has dark, cruel secrets and he will now add ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,616 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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hmm. i should have realized this was the third part of a trilogy before i read this. i have read reviews of this on here before that explicitly stated this, but for some reason, i just blanked that out when i was choosing my books for "october is spooky." this is a perfectly fine self-contained story, but i think i might have felt more connection to it had i read the first two and been better able to connect with the characters from their previous storylines.

so, a cannibal woman happily living o
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Oh poor reader do take care! The master of shock and terror has yet again served up a dish of vulgarity, brutality and kindness. Family how wonderful it is, mum and dad brother and sister living as a happy family but it all goes completely out the window when Ketchum is writing!
He opens the plot up with the Woman and a woman in the truest sense she is, but also brutally too in-touch with wilderness and it's savagery.
A hunter stumbles across prey and brings it home and oh boy that's the best deci
Like Off Season and Offspring before it, The Woman continues the Ketchum tradition of shock 'em and drop 'em (your jaws that is). Like a still warm carcass, The Woman is freshly spilled blood on a tried and tested horror sub genre - cannibalism; tender and warm to begin with, rotting and germ infested by the end - though one could argue it either way around in this case.

The early scenes introduce a normal American middle class family in the Cleeks, a young successful father, his homemaker wife a
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brutal and violent. Bloody and rapey.

The Woman has lost everything. She’s not used to losing. She’s used to taking. Using. Killing. And now she’s finds herself held captive by a psychopath who thinks that he can tame her and use her for his own selfish pleasures. That is probably not a very good idea. She is Woman, hear her roar.

A fitting and appropriately blood drenched final entry in the Dead River trilogy.

“The world is rich with food and family.”

As long as, it’s not the Woman’s family, the
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't say how awesome this book is. Its just so damn good and mind blowing! I was just thinking and you'll know what I'm talking about if you've read the others in the series, but it's just funny how in the other books you are rooting for the victims, but in this book, you are rooting for the woman...or at least I was. It's just pure talent how Jack Ketchum can make you feel. How he can flip things. This story is the best one because it really delves into the mechanics of a "normal" family and ...more
Kevin Lucia
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Woman is the third act of a harrowing tale begun in Jack Ketchum's legendary Offseason, a tale of feral cannibals living in the woods, hunting and breeding and terrorizing the Maine coast. The Woman begins with the last surviving member of this savage clan seeking refuge in cave, resting and healing from wounds inflicted upon her when her clan was attacked and killed by those hunting them.

But this survivor isn't left in peace for long. Because she's spotted by Christopher Cleek, a sophistica
Quentin Wallace
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I liked the movie, I LOVE the book! I mention them together because the project was conceived as a movie/book collaboration and it seems that any analysis of one demands mention of the other. No matter how great an actress Pollyanna MacIntosh is (and she is The Woman), she's restricted by having no comprehensible dialogue to deliver (unless you understand pidgin Gaelic). Despite that, she does an admirable job. In the book, however, Ketchum gives The Woman a clear voice that fills out ...more
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is quite possibly no one in the business who can write human monsters the way Ketchum does, expertly peeling away layer upon layer, masks and facades, to reveal the hideousness underneath. The Woman certainly packed a punch, emotionally this was his strongest work since The Girl Next Door in that appaling yet compelling way of a deadly car wreck. Don't know how much McKee had to do with the story, but I'd be very interested to see the film adaptation. 4.5 stars read, intense, borderline tr ...more
Jason Parent
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I haven't yet read a Jack Ketchum book or story I didn't think was great. ...more
Rouxmia Roest
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My new absolute favourite writer. Jack Ketchum's brutal but strangely moral prose is making me love him all the more. You sense that the writer gets every nuance of meaning his writing, like he's purging something and it purges something in me as I read it, but also lifts it. It's strange, almost transcendent in the non-fluffy meaning of that word. It exalts me, even as his characters suffer, and I question myself, and seethe, and feel it in every fibre, and I shed tears, but I'm not sure why - ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a series!!! I wonder if he planned on writing more about The woman (and the girls?) if he had had the time.
To me, I find it kind of ironic that The woman was being abused in a cellar... sound familiar? In my mind, I would like to think this was Ketchum’s way of getting revenge for Sylvia Likens. Meh, maybe not, but it makes me feel better to think that.
Now...onto the movies!
Iliana Veltcheva
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
[Off topic]

Right, so this is what happened.

Since I posted my review of The Girl Next Door, I’ve been contacted by a few Ketchum fans who very convincingly made the case that my decision to stay away from this guy to preserve my good opinion of him isn’t fair because, regardless of his deserved reputation for excessive gore, The Girl Next Door isn’t the only book where he made it his business to give voice and dignity to victims.

I got different recommendations (also, everybody said I should keep
Every voracious reader has a guilty pleasure reads, admit it, you know you do. Maybe its precocious scared wizard children attending a secret school, or maybe its sparkly vampires, or maybe it’s time traveling nurses who can’t get home because they are too busy rolling in the hay with their “bonnie lad” of a husband. Whatever the case, these are the novels you are slightly embarrassed to admit you own, or feel like you should be checking the books out on your child’s or partner’s library card. W ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cemetery-dance, 2011


That’s my review in a word suitable for a PG world.

There is no single word that best describes this story for the rest of us without resorting to holy hyphenated expletives.

In the beginning, we are introduced to Christopher Cleek who is out hunting. He runs into “The Woman” and sets about capturing her. Each is a hunter. Yet The Woman has been wounded so Cleek gets the upper hand.

I like the POV shifts in this story because you get to see The Woman through the eyes of the Cleek family, and yo
M. Keep
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who enjoy torture porn.
I can't say I enjoyed this book. I went into it knowing little more than the cover blurb, so it likely just wasn't my style of book. I tried to review it in detail so that you can decide for yourself if it might be more to your liking.

I found the character development to be all but invisible in the first two thirds of the book. It wasn't until later that I felt anything other than befuddlement of the main character. I felt it was so lacking that I truthfully didn't understand anything about hi
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The third in a series of novels featuring wild cannibals living in the forests of coastal Maine, this novel, cowritten with Lucky McKee, takes the story after Off Spring, and the lone female survivor simply known as the Woman. But when local resident, lawyer, and family man, Chris Cleek, spies her bathing in a stream while he's on a hunting trip, he knows he can't just ignore what's presented itself. Cleek captures the Woman and secures her in a fruit cellar in a barn outside the family home. Th ...more
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
My first thought when I finished this was: No Peters!? That guy was some sort of terminator!

My second: She speaks Irish! I dont know whether to be impressed or insulted! :P

A very quick read. I dont think it was as gory as the first two but then again Im probably immune by now. If you've read off season and offspring you'll like this.
Dec 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback, read-2015
Lacked finesse.
To me it seemed like Ketchum just wanted to see how much incest, cannibalism, killer dogs, torture, breasts and birth defects you can put in a 250 page book (and short story).
Also the writing seemed rather clumsy at times, but that could be the German translation.

Overall an ok book.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fast-paced and engaging, it's what I expected from Ketchum. This one lacked depth and dimension though, compared to "The Girl Next Door". A straightforward violent story, full of blood and gore, with no surprises I can remember. I wouldn't categorise it as horror, really. It had little of the suspense and dread I felt when reading TGND. Suitable candidate for poolside reading. ...more
Timothy Mayer
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The final entry into Jack Ketchum’s Dead River trilogy, The Woman, was published recently. Since the movie version emerged at the same time, and since both film and book credit Lucky McKee as the co-writer, I assume both were produced together. I wouldn’t call the novel a “tie-in” book, but they seem to work simultaneously. So similar are book and movie that they can be considered one production.

In the opening chapter of The Woman, we discover “The Woman” of the last novel miraculously survived
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
First of all, this is my first Ketchum book (I did not know it was a part of a series; however, it did stand well alone), and I must also say I have not been disturbed by a piece of writing for some time. Besides the obvious shock factors of the plot itself, what really struck me were the different portrayals of women throughout the novel. It's as if Ketchum thought of every aspect of women, in contrast to the evil, one-dimensional man.

The dominant male of the story is Christopher Cleek, a sadi
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Jack Ketchum has taken a turn or two into the realm of supernatural horror, but the vast majority of his work is firmly rooted in the real world. The man knows how to plumb the darkest elements of the mundane, amplify them, and hurl them full-force into your face as you read his work. But, how does the guy who offers a veritable masterpiece in The Girl Next Door fare when collaborating with the likes of Lucky McKee on a novel and film?

Chris Cleek, an authoritative family man, stumbles upon a wil
Glenn Conley
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book was fucking crazy. Because, I just couldn't wrap my head around the concept. I get some single guy doing this shit, but a family man? And the fucking guy just brings his family down to the basement and introduces them to this savage beast of a woman? Crazy man. Just fucking crazy.

This is the story of The Woman, who gets abducted from her cave, and is dragged back to this man's house, where he chains her up in his basement. Like you do. She's some kind of savage animal-woman. She only s
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, horror
One of the world's most twisted writers (Jack Ketchum) teams up with one of Hollywood's most twisted directors (Lucky McKee) to bring us this twisted little nausea-inducing horror romp. I feel like a sick puppy for saying this, but THE WOMAN is actually a masterful bit of story-telling. In most of his books, Ketchum walks a fine line between artistry and outright decadence, and THE WOMAN is certainly no exception. Basically, the story follows a dysfunctional family--in particular, a sadistic law ...more
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
So a friend on facebook wrote, "Never watch the movie The Woman. It's disgusting and misogynistic beyond belief." So naturally I spent the next 24 hours reading the book AND watching the movie. Which, btw, are almost completely similar. Like barely a word changed.

Misogynistic? Well, there's just a whole bunch of rapes and sexual torture and yeah...that would fall under that category. But there are levels there. The woman, who is a feral cannibal with extremely high animalistic intelligence and
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Don't judge me, it's October and I want to read scary things!

Ok, Cannibal Hillbilly Trilogy has been read. The first book, "Off Season," was dreadfully scary. Like, I will never think the woods aren't full of danger ever again. Do not ever ask me to go spelunking.

The sequal, "The Offspring," was okay, scary but not as horrifying as the first book.

"The Woman," however, was great. Not on par with the first book in terms of overall gore and dread, but fantastic in its own way. There's more moments
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Miss Sherry
Recommended to Paula by: My Conscience
WOW! I believe this book to be the best of the trilogy so far. I have read about The Woman and her ancestors and captors... True and fiction..
Christopher Cleek was a real guy, ya know. Father, Farmer, Freak.
So was Sawney Beane.
Beane started it with him and his twisted lil girlfriend.
Hate the real world
Mr. Ketchum elaborated on the the story in his own wonderful way.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
My first book by Jack Ketchum. At first, not scary. Then: v e r y different and interesting. Especially the end, not what I had expected, not predictable. A book to remember.
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paced reading hor...: The woman 84 15 Jan 29, 2016 08:26AM  

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Dallas William Mayr, better known by his pen name Jack Ketchum, was an American horror fiction author. He was the recipient of four Bram Stoker Awards and three further nominations. His novels included Off Season, Offspring, and Red, which were adapted to film. In 2011, Ketchum received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for outstanding contribution to the horror genre.

A onetime actor,

Other books in the series

Dead River Series (4 books)
  • Off Season (Dead River, #1)
  • Off Season: The Unexpurgated Edition
  • Offspring (Dead River, #2)

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“He was the product of what his father had taught him to be, who in turn was the product of what his father had taught him to be and she wondered how far back in sheer misogyny and greed the Cleeks actually went.  She had married blind into this, impressed by his self-possession as a teenager, even more impressed by him in bed — or in fact for the first year or so, in the back seat of his father’s Caddy.  Her first and only lover.” 0 likes
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