Monday, December 25, 2006

Weed Species

Weed Species by Jack Ketchum is available exclusively from Cemetery Dance in both Limited Edition of 1,500 signed copies ($35) edition and in Traycased Lettered Edition of 52 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker ($175) edition. As this was my first Cemetery Dance purchase I bought the Limited Edition.

The production quality of the book really impressed me. Because Cemetery Dance is an small publishing house I wasn't sure what to expect. The customer service was above excellent and so was the book quality. The binding, paper quality and book assembly were all top notch. Think about how many books you've seen from the big publishers where it looks like a dull blade was used and the pages are all uneven with ragged edges. You won't experience that with Cemetery Dance.

This was my first Jack Ketchum book and I found it to be very entertaining. Being only 90 pages long you should be able read it cover to cover in one sitting. The cover art is by Alan M. Clark and the interior art is by Glenn Chadbourne. Jack Ketchum has stated this book is the most vicious thing he has ever done. His goal was to make the reader feel repulsed and he succeeded. This book is not for everybody. Read the excerpt at Cemetery Dance before you buy it.

The story opens with the rape of a teenage girl by her sister and her sister's husband. We soon learn this isn't the first rape the couple has committed nor will it be the last. There are a number of sadistic acts in this story. The main character moves through four phases in her life during the telling of the story. Each phase will have you wondering if it will cause her to change her ways. Each will also have you wondering if she could get any more evil. Unlike a lot of movies that get graphic simply because they can Jack works with graphic descriptions like a master artist works with oils or clay. The title is very appropriate for the story line. When you see one weed sprout you are going to see more. Where evil takes root more evil will follow.

The book encouraged me to ask:
What is evil?
If you feel you are doing the right thing, does that make it less evil?
If you cause harm to one you feel has done evil, are you justified?
Is it wrong to enjoy a story this graphic? No, it isn't.

Quoted from the book:
The second girl was named Ashley Link and they dumped her body in a ditch along the roadside. It had been far too much trouble and taken far too long to cut up Stephanie's body and encase the various parts in boxes filled with cement and then drive to the lake and dump them. Owen's chainsaw kept jamming up on such sticky half-liquid substances and once the cement set, the boxes were very heavy. The stench in the goddamn basement lasted weeks.

She figured you learned by your mistakes.

So they stripped her and washed her and dumped her and cleaned up the car and that was that.

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