In the silence of a green wilderness, they were to learn terror…
The celebrated novelist. The model. The agent. The playwright. The photographer. The wife. Refugees from modern civilization off for a weekend in the woods. Far away from the clash and clamor of the city…and amenities like telephones, hospitals, and policemen. Soon, they’ll stand naked against a battle-scarred soldier whose cunning and ferocity rival any force of nature, a survivor of our most frustrating war still fighting the enemy in every person he sees. Soon, during the long days and deadly nights, all the trappings and trivia of their lives will be stripped away…until all that’s left is a desperate, elemental need to survive and fight together – if they can – to defeat the killing machine that threatens them all.
For on a tranquil, tree-lined street, in a dark basement, fourteen-year-old Meg and her little sister Susan are about to learn everything there is to know about the savagery in the human heart.
And an entire neighborhood, young and old alike, will either turn away from the madness, or succumb to it, joining in the slow, sadistic torture of a victim too beautiful and too innocent for her own good. Here, only one young boy will dare to reach out to make an agonizing choice between love and compassion – and violence and evil.
It shocked horror fans everywhere – Jack Ketchum’s Off Season, the brutal and harrowing story of an inbred family of cannibals in present-day Maine. Some reader were horrified, others outraged. Yet no one could put the book down. An instant cult classic.
Now the legend lives on.
A new generation of terror.
The local sheriff of Dead River, Maine, thought he’d killed them off ten years ago – a primitive, cave-dwelling tribe of predatory savages. But somehow, the clan survived. To breed. To hunt. To kill and eat. Now the peaceful residents who came to Dead River to escape civilization, are fighting for their lives. And there’s only one way to do it:
Unleash the primal savagery lurking in their own hearts.
From a 2017 Interview with Darker Magazine (in Russian):
Readers in Russia know you mainly from the rather messy-made edition of «Vultures» [Off Season] and «Stai» [Offspring].The nineties were a paradise for horror lovers in Russia, although most publishers wanted to spit on copyright, high-quality covers / translations, etc. What do you think about this book? Did you receive any money for it?
Not a cent. These books were stolen by the editor of a magazine…and sold without my knowledge. Then one day I received this book in hardcover by mail, on the cover – a frightened man in the form of either a New York policeman, or the pilot of a Nazi attack plane, surrounded by zombie-like creatures. There was no return address, so where she came from, I don’t know.
Wayne keeps a record of offences. The kids who trash his fence, the dog that dumps in his yard, the guys who give him stress in the bar – they’re all in his book. He hasn’t hit back yet, though the urge is strong. He’ll give in one day. He wonders why he hasn’t dared. So far.
Carole doesn’t want to do it but murder seems like the only solution. The only way to solve the problem of her ex – drunken, sadistic, clever. If the courts can’t protect her and the police can’t keep him away, how else will she ever be free?
On the sunny mountainside, above the creek, that’s where Carole has the courage to solve her problem. Her lover, Lee, has the baseball bat but she’s the one with the rock – and the nerve and desperation to crush a man’s skull and pitch him off a mountain.
Wayne sees it all. Every moment. It’s the very best day of his life. Because it points the way down the road for him. The killing road. And the way he plans it, he and Carole and Lee are all going to do a little traveling together…
Howard Gardner deserved to die. For years he abused his wife. Physically. Verbally. Psychologically. Even after the separation, he kept coming back for more.
Carole and her lover, Lee, knew there was only one way to get him out of their lives. Murder. They planned every detail. And they thought they committed the perfect crime.
But a stranger saw them do it. His name was Wayne Lock, and he wanted to be their friend. He wanted to share the thrill of murder. And he wanted to take Carole and Lee on a road trip straight to hell. An all-out killing spree. The ultimate experience…