Seriously, I’m not sure what’s up with me and collections of short stories this year. I think I’ve read more this year than ever before.
But this is Jack Ketchum, the author of The Girl Next Door. I think I might re-read this novel next year, and will try to write a nice, long, honest review – but next year.
Back to the stories.
Apparently, Jack Ketchum was called – by no other than Stephen King himself – “the scariest man in America.” As much as I could see this in “The Girl Next Door” and in most of the stories from the other collection – Peaceable Kingdom – I couldn’t see it here too much.
That being said, it’s not a bad collection. On the contrary, they were easy and fun to read. Entertaining and well-written. Jack Ketchum has a gift of creating really full-fleshed characters, and if there is one thing I learned about myself by writing reviews, is that characters are what matters most for me in stories/novels. He also has a gift of re-creating brutal slices from every-day life, and/or human emotions, and these are also here.
There was a recurring motive of Greece, which I didn’t care for. Also, a few stories included cats and dogs, which I personally did find a nice touch. Some of the stories were annoying in their theme (for me, that is), some were weaker, some stronger, but there wasn’t a single one I wouldn’t enjoy at all.
One more thing – the title story, Closing Time was included also in Peaceable Kingdom.
Overall, strong, solid stories. Maybe not masterpieces, but worth reading.