12.48pm

As you can probably tell from my Books page, I read a lot. I have read some bad books. I have read some good books. I read so much that I have a high standard now when it comes to saying that I “love” a particular book. 

The list of books that I love is small, but here are some of the recent ones:

  • Stiff
  • 1Q84
  • The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
  • The Woman in Black
  • Birdsong
  • Horns

I now have a new one to add the list: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. What is one sure sign that I loved it?

I read it in three days.

I fell into a Jack Ketchum vortex and the story grabbed my brain and wouldn’t let go. I read it at every opportunity – on the couch, at lunchtime, on the train, on the toilet, everywhere when I had a few spare moments.

Ketchum magnificently captures the feeling of what I call “kids in summer during a simpler time”. Think Stand By Me. Think The Goonies. Think of your own childhood playing with friends in the warm sun, mucking around by the river, playing sports, and staying over at a mates house. Hot dogs and fairs, bike rides and camping. Ketchum nails this feeling and then ever so gently starts to turn things on their head.

I won’t spoil the story, but as things go along, since he built that foundation at the start of the book, you have unwittingly put yourself in the story too. So when things begin to take a turn, you feel like you are there too, a participant in the events. What would I do? How would I react?

I personally found this book riveting, I could not put it down, and even now, a week or so since finishing it, it stills plays on my mind.

Read it.

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