It is a sad day for fans of horror fiction. Prolific horror author Jack Ketchum has died after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Ketchum, a pseudonym for Dallas Mayr, took the genre world by storm with the release of his first novel, Off Season, in 1981. The narrative centered on a New York editor alone in a cabin in the woods who finds herself tormented by a cannibalistic family waiting for the perfect moment of darkness to strike.
He would go on to write 16 more novels and his work was featured in countless anthologies.
In 2006, for the first time, his work was adapted for the screen. Ketchum appeared in The Lost based on his novel by the same name.
The author was a master of description, showing his readers in brutal detail every act of violence committed in his stories. And yet there was always a reason behind the violence, and the focus fell on the human reactions to these savage acts.
This all too real human factor forced readers to ask themselves, “What would I do?” “How would I handle this situation?”
Not surprisingly, many of his colleagues and fans took to Twitter to remember the legend.
What terrible news. My heart goes to Dallas (Jack Ketchum) and to so many of my friends who were his close friends. Dallas was kind, funny, generous, the smartest person in the room, and a titan of a writer. https://t.co/uGanBl6R2F
— Paul Tremblay (@paulGtremblay) January 24, 2018
I’m numb. No other word for it.
Horror legend and my friend for many, many years, Dallas Mayr (aka @JackKetchum) has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Farewell, old friend. I’m so sorry to see you go. pic.twitter.com/fnJU4iiNCH
— Christopher Golden (@ChristophGolden) January 24, 2018
The loss of a talent like Ketchum’s will be sorely missed, and while it cuts as deeply as any wound he inflicted in his fiction, we can be certain that his work will be remembered for generations to come.