Joyride-A not so pleasant ride after all

So far this semester we have read some interesting books, but Joyride takes the cake. Jack Ketchum takes you on a ride deep into the mind of no So far this semester we have read some interesting books, but Joyride takes the cake. Jack Ketchum takes you on a ride deep into the mind of not only a psychopath but also his victims.

Most of the time when you read a story that has someone committing a murder we don’t get to learn much about the victim. The detectives or the murderer will reveal a little bit, but that’s it. Jack Ketchum did something that so far I have not seen in a book, and that is to introduce us the thoughts and dreams of the victim right before they died. He took the adage that your life will flash before your eyes and made it real. In doing this, it causes us to feel more for the victim and even connect with them. There were a few cases where I could identify with the person on the receiving end of Wayne’s (psychopath/murderer) rage. If we can sympathize with the poor soul, who is about to die then their death has more of an impact on us as the reader. As I was finishing the story, I had to make sure to watch something funny, so I could clear my mind and not have to worry about the possibility of messed up dreams.

Teachers and writers warn us that when we write our stories to be careful switching between too many points of view with the characters. This is understandable because a story can become muddy or jumbled with too many voices trying to be the focus. In the beginning, I was a tad confused as to whose head we were in, but once I recognized the thought process of each character, the story became a breeze. I would have stayed a little longer in each person’s voice before I started to blend them to give the reader enough time to figure out who was talking.

This story was a fast read. There was a conflict right at the very beginning when Wayne and his girl Susan fought after he tried to choke her during sex. After Susan storms off and leaves Wayne in the woods, I wondered what was next. The set up was of course for Wayne to watch Carole and her boyfriend Lee murder her ex-husband. At that moment, we got a real taste for how far gone Wayne was. His obsession with Carole and Lee keeps the moment of the story going. Wayne was the force that drove the story forward and kept the middle of the story from hitting that dreaded lull all writers fear. There was so much going on that you wanted to keep turning the page up until almost the very end. The story lost its momentum after the police rescued Carole from Wayne’s house. But, it was necessary because the joyride was over and it was time to tie up loose ends and close the story.

In most books I’ve read the cop is happy that they found the person committing the crimes. I have not come across many books where the detective thought that he was like the killer. This story was different in the end. Detective Rule has finally come full circle with his inner demons. His wife left him because he was never there. He goes so far to say to his psychiatrist that he and Wayne are just alike in that they destroy things. But, his psychiatrist points out that Rule tries to stop what is terrible and protects what is good through whatever means necessary and that separates him from the monsters in the world.

One thought on “Joyride-A not so pleasant ride after all

  1. I loved how we got right inside the victim’s mind right before they died. We got a short blurb about their life, dreams, and fears right before they were murdered. So far, I haven’t seen another writer employ this in their work. That was one of Ketchum’s strong points in this novel. Learning just a little bit about each of the random victims made me feel for them, more so than Carole, Lee or Susan.


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