I just finished reading Stranglehold by Jack Ketchum and I was absolutely floored by the strong writing, great plot, and Ketchum’s ability to just suck the reader into the world he created and have each chapter end with a feeling of dread and despair that forces the reader to read “just one more chapter” before they take a break.
Ketchum has created Arthur Danse, a true sociopath who likes to prove his superiority of everyone else in his world and actively seeks to bring people into his world just so he can prove to them that he is better than them. When he meets Lydia McCloud, a beautiful confident woman, he decides he must marry her, not because he loves her or needs her, but because he wants to prove to her she will not always be sheltered and protected.
After they are married, they have a child and that is when Arthur decides that he “owns” Lydia and he begins to ratchet up his controlling and dominating behaviors. He starts slowly and is soon attempting to control everything in his wife’s life and also his son’s life.
When Lydia begins to suspect Arthur’s dominating behavior has gone too far, she seeks to get her son and herself out of Arthur’s sphere of influence. Her only problem is Arthur is not going to let them go without a fight.
Ketchum mixes in some really great subplots and the way he allows Arthur to come to life on the page is a wonder to behold. I loved how Arthur was portrayed as a sociopath who only went further and further off the deep end as the novel unfolded.
This was an outstanding read and serves as my wakeup call that I need to be reading more Ketchum. Whether you are new to Ketchum or an avid fan of his, you will love this book. Grab a copy ASAP and get to reading this thrilling book.