“Scariest guy in America” dead at 71

Jack Ketchum, the award-winning author of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, RED, and THE CROSSINGS has succumbed to cancer at the age of 71. During his career, Ketchum nabbed four Bram Stoker Awards®, a World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, and was dubbed “the scariest guy in America” by Stephen King, who acknowledged Ketchum’s passing this afternoon:

Ketchum was born William Dallas Mayr on November 10, 1946 in Livingston, New Jersey, and worked as an actor, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk before his first novel, OFF SEASON, hit bookshelves in 1980.

He also wrote under the pen name “Jerzy Livingston” as an homage to his birthplace and author Jerzy Kosinski. A number of his works were also adapted to screen, including THE LOST...


The news of the author’s passing broke at midday today with a Tweet from Ketchum’s webmaster, Kevin Kovelant:

In 2012, Ketchum’s “Amid the Walking Wounded” appeared in the charity anthology CHIRAL MAD, edited by Michael Bailey. While I never met Ketchum in person, this was where our professional paths crossed for the first time when “Mirror Moments” also made the cut. Ketchum was kind enough to tweet a line from my story:

The next year, I asked Ketchum for feedback on a manuscript I was working on, and he sent me the following email: “Had a chance to read LOSING TOUCH this week. Enjoyed it. It’s an intriguing premise, well executed.”

Everyone needs a little encouragement, and when I saw that email, I thought I might actually have a little talent of my own. So Dallas, wherever you are tonight, I hope you’re resting well. And thank you. I am forever in your debt.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

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