Skinner (Not of the Principal Type) review

Skinner - David Bernstein

On paper, David Bernstein's Skinner is everything I look for in a horror novella. A group of characters - in this case, three couples - get attacked by something evil and monstrous that does not plan pleasant or uplifting things for them. Said group battle to stay alive and the enjoyment comes from picking who is going to be picked off next, and who - if anyone - is going to survive.

In execution, however, David Bernstein's Skinner takes a hell of a long time to get going, feels far longer than it is, and apart from one memorably surprising death, pretty much goes where most horror fans think it will. Bernstein takes his time allowing the characters to develop and their interactions to breathe, but the problem was I still failed to care about any of them. So when they (eventually) start to die, I found myself not really caring. Furthermore, the creature stalking them is revealed and explained very early in proceedings, removing much of the tension that could have been Skinner's greatest asset.

All in all, this was probably my least favourite Bernstein read so far. It was still okay, but I much preferred his excellent The Tree Man, or even the batshit insanity of the ending to The Unhinged.

2.5 Dead-Eyed Crossbow Shots for Skinner.