Horror lost one of the greats yesterday. Dallas Mayr, more commonly known as Jack Ketchum, passed away 24 January 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Author of several novels including Off Season, Red, The Girl Next Door, Offspring, and the short-story collection Peaceable Kingdom, Ketchum’s work has been adapted for the screen and nominated for multiple awards. He was a four-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award and received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award in 2011.
After writing a letter to the legendary Robert Bloch when he was a teenager, the two became good friends and Block mentored Mayr throughout most of his writing career. Mayr was also an agent for Henry Miller, a time which he recounts in his memoir Book of Souls. A nonbeliever of the supernatural, Mayr used that viewpoint for most of his fiction, showing that our fellow humans are often much more monstrous than any strange creature from the depths of our imagination. His stories felt real because they were based on events that could actually happen, or as in the case of The Girl Next Door, events that actually did happen.
Our own Michael David Wilson was friends with Dallas, keeping up a regular correspondence with him through the years. Michael has written a very personal and heartfelt eulogy over at LitReactor, which you can read here. We here at This Is Horror are devastated by the loss of this great writer. Dallas was known to most as one of the scariest guys in horror fiction, but he was also extremely well-known as one of the kindest, most generous people in the business, easy with his smile and friendship. He was truly one of the good guys and will be deeply missed.