When one hears the name Jack Ketchum they think of splatter punk, extreme horror, and outrageous violence. With such a reputation his books have never been found on best sellers lists. An avid cult following however has arisen that has made his novels and short stories hugely popular. Five feature length films have been made out of his works and his writings have brought such prestigious honors as multiple Bram Stoker Awards and the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award.
In 1995, Jack Ketchum released a novel that would seem more apt to have been written by someone other than a speculative fiction author. The novel Red, with elements that seem out of a Cormac McCarthy novel, twists a tale that should lead to vengeance into a story filled with forgiveness and love. Avery Ludlow, a widower and senior citizen from Maine, lives a quiet life with his dog Red. His daily routine includes such hobbies as fishing and managing his general store. One fateful fishing trip down by the local creek, a shocking event turns his world upside down. Seeking understanding, asking only for impartiality, offering total absolution, Ave does his best to remain human in a world that offers nothing but melancholy and unfairness.
In 2008, a film of the novel starring Brian Cox with an important cameo by Robert Englund was highly regarded by critics while being a very faithful adaption to the story. Dark Discussions discusses this fantastic novel, the wonderful movie, and how the character of Avery Ludlow, flaws and all, is the model of how every human being with nothing more than a big heart can overcome whatever is wrong in the world.