Skinner is a supernatural overcoming the monster horror story from David Bernstein. A simple premise with three couples on their way to a cabin retreat, they attempt to drive over a mountain during an inexplicable storm. First filling up with gas at a rather creepy ‘last fuel stop’, they encounter an old man surrounded by and wearing wolf pelts.
Going up the mountain the snow worsens and they narrowly avoid running over, yep, the old man from the gas station, by plummeting down the side of the mountain. It’s then a conveniently found cabin in the woods and a battle for survival scenario as one by one they succumb to a foe that has been playing this game for an eternity.
What we have is a fairly standard horror story that plays out somewhat like a movie script, more an intricate description of events as they happen and to be honest I was a little bit bored by the whole thing. There’s the usual inner group squabbles, a bit of deception and questionable loyalties but I really didn’t care for any of the characters, nor whether they lived or died.
The story wasn’t too predictable regarding who survives, it just didn’t grab my interest. I think it was more the style than anything, very little character depth and some cringe worthy conceptual metaphors. I mean comparing falling down a cliff in a car to shoes in a tumble dryer set on the highest possible speed and smells compared to the sharpness of a thousand newly minted pennies. It just didn’t work for me, I normally read and highlight the good, the bad and the ugly in any story, and when I go over the notes if there’s lots of things that are grouped by a ‘nah’ and there’s no quotes I liked then it doesn’t bode well.
A book that plays out like a movie has to have some way of getting involved with the story, I’ve read stuff like this before and enjoyed it. Over the top, riotous fun, with some humour, anything in fact to make you want to pick it up again, sadly this didn’t have much in the way of redeeming qualities. If you like your stories in a sense almost articulated, simple to comprehend with little concentration required you might enjoy this. On the other hand if you want to experience a story, think about it, even when you’re not reading it, desperate to get back to it, then this won’t be for you.
Words by Paul Nelson