It’s official. My “To Be Read…” pile of books has grown so large that I’ve had to move it from the bedside table to its own bedroom. I sometimes look at the stack and think to myself, Let’s see, at the pace of a book every other day, I could finish this stack in about a hundred and twenty years…
So why is it, with that much new reading to do, that I find myself rereading Jack Ketchum’s collection of stories Peaceable Kingdom? Well, it could be that the stories in there are absolutely amazing. Yeah, that has to be it. Last night, I opened my worn and well-loved copy and glanced at the first line of the lead off story “The Rifle.”
“She found the rifle standing on its stock in the back of his cluttered closet.
“Unexpected as a snake in there.”
and I was hooked. Ketchum will do that to you. His prose is so smooth, so straightforward and immediate, that you find yourself unable to look away from the page. One hour, and five stories later, I found myself unaware of where the time had gone, my skin damp with sweat.
And then I remembered…that’s why I read Jack Ketchum.