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The Girl Next Door by [Jack Ketchum]

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The Girl Next Door Kindle Edition

4.3 4.3 out of 5 stars 4,206 ratings

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Editorial Reviews Review

The Girl Next Door is a dark and twisted story told through the eyes of a preteen boy. Set in the 1950s, the book mixes true life experiences from author Jack Ketchum with a fictionalized account of one of America's grizzliest true crime stories. With an engaging story and believable characters, this is a book that no one will want to put down.

The Girl Next Door follows a young man named David and the relationship he shares with a teenage girl named Meg. Meg lives next door with her younger sister and an older woman, Ruth, who also has several sons. Ruth is the type of woman whom everyone looks up to and teenagers love hanging out with because she gives them alcohol and lets them run loose. Once David discovers the dark side of Ruth and the horrendous things that she does to Meg, he must make a decision to stand up to Ruth or stick with the crowd.

Made into a hit horror film,
The Girl Next Door is a harrowing look at what happens behind closed doors. Ketchum writes an unflinching portrait of small-town America, showing that what people do in public does not necessarily represent the way they act in private. From the moment David meets Meg to the last page of the novel, you will find yourself wrapped up in David's story and hoping he does the right thing.

The Girl Next Door is an introspective story that will have you taking a second look at your neighbors and questioning what you would do in the same situation.


Realism is what makes this novel so terrifying... the monsters ..are human, and all the more horrifying for it. --Mike Baker, Afraid Magazine

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is does not just promise terror but actually delivers it.. it's a page-turner.. --Stephen King, from the Introduction to The Girl Next Door

"This is the real stuff, horror embedded in genuine literature, an uncomfortable dip into the pitch blackness in the underside of the American literary tradition."-- --Edward Bryant, Locus Publications
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B003IHC34I
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ 47North (May 31, 2005)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ May 31, 2005
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 373 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 370 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 4.3 out of 5 stars 4,206 ratings

About the author

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Jack Ketchum "is on a par with Clive Barker (Hellraiser), James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and Thomas Harris (The Silence of The Lambs)," and that "the only novelist working today that is writing more important fiction is Cormack McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road). - Stephen King

Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for novelist Dallas Mayr. He was born in Livingston, New Jersey in 1946. A onetime actor, teacher, and lumber salesman, Ketchum credits his childhood love of Elvis Presley, dinosaurs, and horror for getting him through his formative years. As a teenager, was befriended by Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho" who became a mentor to him. He supported Ketchum's work just as his work was supported by his own mentor, H.P. Lovecraft. This relationship with Bloch lasted until his death in 1994.

A pivotal point in Jack Ketchum's career came while he was working for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency. He met Henry Miller and assisted him as his agent until shortly before his death in 1980. His extraordinary encounter with Miller at his home in Pacific Palisades is one of the subjects of his memoir in "Book of Souls".

In 1980, Jack Ketchum published his first novel "Off Season". Stephen King said in his acceptance speech at the 2003 National Book Awards that "Off Season set off a furor in my supposed field, that of horror, that was unequaled until the advent of Clive Barker. It is not too much to say that these two gentlemen remade the face of American popular fiction." Ketchum has received continued praise by King throughout their friendship.

Ketchum's work is largely based upon true events. The Girl Next Door , for example, was inspired by the 1965 murder of the young Sylvia Likens. In the special edition of the novel, King, who volunteered to write the preface, wrote one of the longest introductions of his career. He later went on to say that the movie adaptation of the book was "the first authentically shocking American film I've seen since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer over 20 years ago. If you are easily disturbed, you should not watch this movie. If, on the other hand, you are prepared for a long look into hell, suburban style, The Girl Next Door will not disappoint. This is the dark-side-of-the-moon version of Stand By Me."

He has received numerous Bram Stoker Awards for works such as "The Box", "Closing Time", and "Peaceable Kingdom". As his books gained in worldwide popularity, they also began to be adapted into feature films, the first of which was "Jack Ketchum's The Lost" which went on to be a cult success, followed by the highly controversial second film "The Girl Next Door". However, the main launch for Jack Ketchum into international commercial and critical success was the long-awaited release by Magnolia Pictures of the film Red, based on his novel, starring Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) and Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan). After favorable reviews at The Sundance Film Festival, the movie made a critical showing in the United States and enjoyed relative success internationally with subsequent translations of the novel.

The author enjoyed more international succes with the publication and film version of "The Woman" co-written and directed by Lucky McKee in which the New York Times said "in this lean adaptation of a novel by Jack Ketchum and himself, maintains an artfully calibrated pace, investing a powerful parable with an abundance of closely observed details. Like David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski, Mr. McKee is a master at drawing suspense from pregnant silences."

Jack Ketchum continues his rise with the present showing of "The Woman" at the Sundance Film Festival 2011 co-written by Ketchum with director Lucky McKee. The novel is to be released this year.

Kethcum lives in New York City where he continues to write, articles, reviews, short stories, novels and screenplays. For more information go to international website:

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
4,206 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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4.0 out of 5 stars Based off a movie
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 23, 2023
I liked this book, however if I would have known it was based off the movie, An American Crime, I would not have read it. I knew the story of Gertrude Baniszewski. She was an evil person. The book is different than the movie. I would recommend this book but I also think you should watch the movie as well.
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