Author: Jack Ketchum
Original language: English
Publisher: Gauntlet Press, 2002
Unlike Jack Ketchum’s earlier novel, LADIES NIGHT, his newest one, RIGHT TO LIFE, definitely has the shoe on the other foot as a pregnant woman becomes the victim of a deranged married couple that kidnap her right off the street and hold her captive for several months while she’s forced to endure their bizarre SM games.
The 139-page novella starts off with Sara Foster on her way to an abortion clinic to do away with the unwanted child that she’s now carrying. Before Sara can even enter the clinic, she’s grabbed and sedated by Stephen and Katherine Teach—a couple who’s unable to have children—and taken to their home where she’s held as a prisoner. The couple intends to hold Sara until the baby is born and then kill her. Stephen, however, has other plans for his beautiful captive as well. He’s going to get the most out Sara’s luscious body by using her to fulfill his own perverted desires. Forcing her to submit in whatever sexual manner he chooses, she’s mentally and physically tortured on almost a daily basis. Even Stephen’s wife decides to get in on the action by making the prisoner her sex slave when the hubby begins to lose interest after a few months have past.
Sara instinctively knows that she has to find a way out before it’s too late, but time is her worse enemy as she grows bigger and more powerless with her pregnancy. She also understands that if she does manage to escape, the couple may very well come after her. This leaves her with just one option—to kill them first!
RIGHT TO LIFE will shock you to the core as it depicts one’s person’s attempt to survive unimaginable torture and humiliation in order to keep from being killed. Mr. Ketchum never pulls his punches with the violence and craziness. His prose is fast moving and creates stark images that are mind numbing. The reader is quickly carried into this dark world of depravity and made to realize that anyone can be a potential victim when least expected. The characters are well drawn, but it’s the Techs that really steal the show. This is one psychotic couple you wouldn’t want to have as next-door neighbors! All in all, RIGHT TO LIFE delivers in full form. Strong in sexual content, it’s not for the faint-hearted or those with a queasy stomach.
One final note, this edition also contains two extra short stories. The first is “Brave Girl” and it deals with a four-year-old child whose mother has fallen in the bathtub and is now unconscious. The second short story is “Returns” which is slightly different from the author’s normal subject matter. It centers on the spirit of a recently deceased man who returns home to his hateful wife, hoping to stop her from killing his loving cat. These two short stories are a nice bonus for the fans of Jack Ketchum.