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Off Season cover art

Off Season

By: Jack Ketchum
Narrated by: Richard Davidson
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Summary

September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River - off season - awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall.

And before too many hours pass, five civilized, sophisticated people and one tired old country sheriff will learn just how primitive we all are beneath the surface...and that there are no limits at all to the will to survive.

©1981 Jack Ketchum (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"If you read Off Season on Thanksgiving, you probably won't sleep until Christmas." (Stephen King)
100 Must-Read Thrillers (International Thriller Writers)

What listeners say about Off Season

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Okay, but not memorable

The storyline was a bit standard (isolated place and feral people want to kill everyone) so I wouldn't have chosen this normally, but it had a high rating and since I wasn't looking for a horror masterpiece I started it anyway. What I liked were the detailed descriptions of the kills and finds. The finale at the house when everything kind of happened at the same time was fun to listen to and had a few tense moments. What I didn't like: the build-up took forever. The characters are just meh. The women especially: just...wow. And the forced mentioning of sexual activities and thoughts just bordered on ridiculous. Everyone's dying in horrible ways but wait, what a good moment to mention the feeling of some characters breasts and such. Too random and predictable, but if you're looking for a horror story where it's okay to zone out every now and then, this is also not the worst you can do.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great story but AWFUL narrating

A difficult first half of the book as it was so slow but the second half is brilliant. However the narrator has to be one of the worst I’ve EVER heard, his voices are terrible and sound very similar.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Jack Ketchum

If you know Jack Ketchum’s work already, then you won’t be disappointed with Off Season. If this is your introduction, then it’s a great place to start. OS is a slow burner that builds up into a bonfire of excruciating horror (and by excruciating I mean it will have you squirming in your seat). Richard Davidson does a superb job on the narration by the way.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Off Season

Really enjoyable listen. Good, gruesome cannibal story with just enough gore to make you squirm. I really enjoy this author, can’t wait to look up more of his work.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Overall Enjoyed!

Just finished this book, and the author's name keeps making me laugh because I keep wanting to say Ash Catchem, but it's Jack Ketchum. Ash Catchem is the lead character in Pokémon! 😂

Found the book incredibly entertaining. It’s described as a good introduction to the more sinister side of horror literature, and I'd agree. Not necessarily scary, just quite graphic in some sections. It makes you grimace but still readable.

In short, the book is about a group of teenagers who accidentally come in contact with cannibals out in the countryside!

Half of the book focuses on character development, and I grew to like some of the characters. I almost wished they were having a nice holiday together, but alas, I didn't expect a happy slice of life story.

Off Season has a lot of thriller elements, keeping me on the edge of my seat, and rooting for the characters to escape! Obviously, the plan probably wouldn't go smoothly, given there was still a quarter of the book left unread.

Some paragraphs were oddly worded and took me out of the moment, but I'm aware this is Jack’s first novel.

The performance was well-done, but at times, I couldn't quite understand what the voice said. I had to check it up in the book I have.

The ending felt quite abrupt. I would've liked maybe a little happy ending, well, as happy as it could be. The book played out like an old '80s horror flick, which I enjoyed, such as a famous opening sequence revealing a small glimpse of this terrifying world! I could see the book being adapted into a pretty epic horror film.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I was very entertained! Also, Nick is kind of a dick.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Off Season by Jack Ketchum

If you like Texas chainsaw massacre and the hills have eyes then this is the book for you although its very gory and very detailed it makes you think that you would never want to be in the position these characters were great disturbing well written story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Hills Have Eyes meets The Strangers

What made the experience of listening to Off Season the most enjoyable?

This book was no holds barred in all departments. The afterward by the author highlights how graphic the book was for its times, but it still is. Put it this way, if it were to be adapted Rob Zombie would be the man to do it. However, the violence, sex etc all suit the story. So to answer the question the book delivers on its promises! The narrator was also a good match to the story.

What other book might you compare Off Season to, and why?

This books is 'Constant Reader' territory. So anything Stephen King, IT WAS SET IN MAINE! The story was most like the films; 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'The Strangers'. I would recommend to anyone who likes gore!

What does Richard Davidson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Richard Davidson was well suited and brought a slick laid back style.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book grossed me out😝

Any additional comments?

Really enjoyable. Steady at first but when the s!!t hits the fan it explodes. Give it a try😀

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Simple, enjoyable cannibalism

I like a short book that sticks to the point. Being eaten by cannibals is unpleasant, this book explains that fact admirably.

My only gripe is that the main characters die by their own mistakes and are not overpowered by the family. I think I would have made it out, and I shouldn't have the luxury of thinking that.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love this author

Love this author the books are no holds barred shocking at time but you can't stop listening

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gruesome, terrifying & enjoyable

I decided to read this after a couple of people said that it was one of the most disturbing books they’ve ever read- plus, cannibals have weirdly interested me, so I decided to give it away. This book is quite brutal and gruesome! But I love this book and would say that if you like dark books then check this out. However, please check your trigger warnings, there’s pretty much one for everything in this novel.

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