Friday, 2 May 2014

Book Review: Right to Life by Jack Ketchum

When Sara Foster is kidnapped in front of an abortion clinic in broad daylight, taken off a busy Manhattan street by a pair of total strangers -- Stephen and Katherine Teach -- she is three months pregnant with her married lover's child.

Her abductors seem to know that. They also seem to know where she lives, where she teaches, where she was born, who her lover is -- even where her father plays golf on the weekends. They tell her about a mysterious worldwide Organization devoted to white slavery and what happens to those slaves who try to run away. What happens to their families and those they love.

That's what Sara is now. Their slave. They show her what happens if she tries to disobey. She sleeps in a coffin-like box in the basement. She's fed according to their whim. Abused according to their whim. They involve her in a brutal murder. 

That's just the beginning. Because Stephen and Katherine Teach have terrible plans for Sara. And her baby.

My Review:
Sara and her married lover run the gauntlet of hate outside an abortion clinic. On the day of the abortion she is kidnapped by activists to be a human slave, abused and tortured and made to have her baby.

I love Jack Ketchum's writing-the brilliant Off Season being one of my favourite horror books. But this one just left me cold. I'm used to reading violence of all kinds so I wasn't shocked or offended by it-I was just left thinking that I didn't like it much as a piece of writing.

Sara is a bit of a cold character and I couldn't bring myself to care much what happened to her. We are told of the trauma of losing her beloved son. We know she is having an affair with a man who won't choose her over her family. But we aren't told why she has decided to abort the child, so it's hard to connect with her or understand her decision. She has a job and family, she knows that the abortion will probably end the tell us why you are doing it! She seems to care more about the damn cat than anything else! Greg doesn't appeal to me any better. Get your long time mistress pregnant, go with her to the clinic then cry tears of self pity for you losing Sara over this. Oh boo hoo. You are such a victim.

The psycho couple are of course the bad guys. They are pro-life activists who are torturing and abusing a pregnant woman-how is that helping the unborn baby? Obviously they don't care much if the trauma makes her miscarry. Makes you wonder why the author wrote them as pro-life! Attempts are made to make you feel a bit sorry for Kath by pointing out that she was once used as Stephen's slave but when she starts getting jealous of a tortured women for getting more attention from her husband, any tiny glimmer of sympathy a reader may have had goes out the window. The slimy activist who witnessed the abduction deserved all he got as well.

I didn't like any of the characters but that wasn't the main problem with the book. I was just bored by it. Stephen abuses Sara. Sara wonders what will happen next. Stephen abuses Sara. Kath and Stephen argue. Stephen abuses Sara. *Yawn* There is just no spark in this book, nothing that really caught my interest or held it. My attention was wandering throughout this novella and I only held on to the end to see if everyone died. It was just an average story from an author who can do so much better.
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg


  1. I agree with your notion of disliking this work. The only difference I hold is that not only did I dislike it, but I loathed it. I felt it was immoral and painful to complete, because it was not scary, but it was sickening. I do not like works when what is supposed to be the protagonist has no opportunity or does not take an opportunity to fight their way out of the situation and this makes her predicament even more painful.

    One of my few zero-star ratings.

    Still like Ketchum's works and contributions to horror fiction, though.

    1. I certainly expect a lot of people to really hate this book for a few different reasons ie the endless torture, the abortion aspects etc. I'm actually debating whether two stars was too generous for the book...!

  2. I'm changing my review over to one star for this book. I had to, in order to give Ladies Night two stars as it was marginally better.