I very rarely stray into horror much anymore, except in the masterful hands of a Stephen Graham Jones, Joe R. Lansdale, Laird Barron, Lucius Shepard, Thomas Ligotti, Richard Laymon. So when I saw this title posted atop a Scariest 100 Horror Novels of All Time list at #1, I figured I should pay attention, particularly given the season.
Jack Ketchum‘s novel, The Girl Next Door, (also attempted as a film)is nothing less than the relentless crescendo from coming-of-age furtive interest and fantasy into a darkness seemingly uncontainable in a paper book. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the only work of any kind that has the same willfully hell-bent trajectory, the same inexorable and deafening crescendo beyond possibility, and when you think the cruelty to children and sometimes by children cannot be worsened, the stakes are inevitably raised, more horrifying than one could have imagined.
I’m really glad to have experienced this book, though I can’t say it was an experience I enjoyed.
Not for the squeamish, but, in its genre, unquestionably #1.