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 he failed. Somehow the clan survived. To breed. To hunt. To kill and eat. And if the peaceful residents of Dead River are to survive, they too must unless their primal instincts. For blood…
I don’t believe in omens, but I think you can know when you’re in trouble.
Thus begins Jack Ketchum’s riveting second novel Hide and Seek.
It’s a book about games. Reckless, dangerous games. Games you might even want to play yourself if you’re with the right people. But shouldn’t. Not ever…
Dead River’s a sleepy little town on the coast of Maine without much going for it. The Great Depression hit hard and never let go. Even now, sixty-odd years later, there’s not much to do, not much going on. So that when a trio of friends, rich college kids, arrive there on a forced march with their parents for summer vacation they have to make their own amusements. And they do, in spades.
Dan’s a local and didn’t get a chance to go to college. There was never the money. He works in a lumberyard hauling two-by-fours and furring around all day with a forklift. He’s even more bored than he knows.
When the college kids arrive, that changes.
The most daring of the three is a beautiful, troubled girl named Casey. She’s not opposed to stealing caviar or cars or running around naked in graveyards. For Casey the thrill’s the thing and the riskier the better.
Dan falls for her, hard. And gradually becomes the fourth member of the group — the poor relation.
But games need escalation. It’s a need that finds them at last in an old abandoned house at night, a house reputed to be haunted, where phantom lights burn in broken windows. Where something lurks waiting in the dark…
Suburbia in the 1950s. A nice quiet simpler time to grow up – unless you count the McCarthy trials and red-scares and the shadow of the Bomb, and the Cold War, unless you could see the dark side emerging. And on a quiet tree-lined dead-end street, in the dark damp basement of the Chandler house, it’s emerging big-time for teenage Meg and her crippled sister Susan – whose parents are dead now, who are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant Aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons – and finally an entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, tortuous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make. Between love and compassion, and lust and evil.
Features an introduction by Stephen King.
Limited Editions also feature afterwords by Christopher Golden, Lucy Taylor, Edward Lee, Philip Nutman, and Stanley Wiater, and are signed by all contributors, including Neal McPheeters, who provided the cover art.
A contented time in a quiet place for most.
But not for 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.
A beautiful New York editor retreats to a quiet Maine beach town –
Nearby, a savage human family lurks in the woods, watching, waiting…
And before too many hours pass, five civilized, sophisticated people will learn just how primitive we all are, and that there are no limits to the will to survive.
This edition is slightly different than the original American edition, but not as complete as The Unexpurgated Edition.
From the Afterword to The Unexpurgated Edition (edited to avoid possible spoilers):
“There was one…change I made…for the British paperback.
At the very end of the original, [a character is] in the ambulance, shot up with painkillers and speculating through her haze on whether these people who are treating her are paramedics or doctors. She hoped they were doctors, reads the line.
A few months after the book was published I got a letter from a fan who said he’d enjoyed the read immensely. Until he got to that line.
He went on to say that he was in fact a paramedic and in [her] situation, she’d be far better off in the hands of a trained ambulance crew than with a bunch of doctors. I checked it out and he was right of course. Whoops. I hadn’t done my homework. I wrote back and apologized and thanked him for bringing the error to my attention and promised that if the book ever went into another printing anywhere I’d fix it.
In ’95 the Brits at Headline came along and I did.“