The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum, is not a read for the faint of heart. If, dear reader, you are disturbed by graphic depictions of torture, mutilation, violence, or psychological trauma you might want to opt for some feel-good pulp novel from Nicholas Sparks or his ilk. If, however, you'd like to delve into the darkness that dwells within us all, check out this tale.
This masterpiece of the macabre is the literary equivalent of a snuff film with a 1950s suburbia backdrop. Young David becomes infatuated with the titular girl next door, Meg, who has come to live with her aunt and cousins. Her Aunt Ruth, a latent psychopath and mother of three, takes an instant dislike to the youthful, exuberant Meg. This dislike quickly blossoms into hate and results in Aunt Ruth ordering her sons to tie Meg up in the basement. Not content with simple mental abuse, Aunt Ruth turns to the physical and shanghais her sons and their friend David into helping. David refuses to actually lay hands upon Meg, but he still finds himself fascinated by the brutality he watches her endure. David wants to help Meg somehow, but he's afraid to take a stand against Ruth and her sons. If they would inflict such pain on an innocent girl, what horrors might they have in store for David?
Did I mention this book was based on a true story? Keep that in mind, buckle up, and dive into this torrid tale.
~Ryan, Circulation Department