Dear Jack Ketchum,
You don’t know me, but I feel I’ve known you since the first time I read Hide and Seek.
From Off Season to The Girl Next Door and Peaceable Kingdom, no other writer spoke to me the way you did.
As if I knew you.
As though you were there in the room with me, guiding me through the shadows and smiling when something leaped out of the dark and frightened me.
Today, I said goodbye to you. Though we never met, it was like saying goodbye to a dear friend or family member. I still cannot process that you’re gone, and it will be a long time before the hurt lessens.
I would tell you, Jack, that you were the greatest horror writer of this or any other generation, but I know you’d shrug it off because you’ve always as been as humble as you are talented. We will miss your kindness. You took young writers by the hand and gave them a voice when they had none, and you influenced countless others with your unmatched ability to tell a story.
You’re in a better place, right beside Richard Laymon and JF Gonzalez. Like them, you were taken from us too soon.
Cancer did not win today.
Cancer cannot touch you in your new home.
Someday I will join you, shake your hand, and probably ask you to autograph Hide and Seek if they let me bring my books with me.
In the meantime, I have a lot of mourning to do, as do all of us who love your work and respect what you’ve done for our industry.
Please do me one favor when you arrive in Heaven. Say hello to my father.
Rest in peace, Jack.