Skinz by Michael Sutherland

Skinz by Michael Sutherland
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Scifi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (17 pages)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Danger, Keep out, Rot-Riddled, Scab Inducing, Radon Poisoned, Festering, Aliens, Monsters, GM. You know what I mean. It’s perfect.

The last extinction is here, man. And I’m it.

Only one side can win this war. For which one are you rooting?

I’ll warn you in advance – this isn’t the kind of narrative that spoon-feeds exposition to the reader. The bare bones of what is happening are revealed as needed but I had to pay close attention to figure out how certain scenes fit together. Once the loose ends do come together, though, what may have at first appeared to be throwaway bits of dialogue reveal their true meanings.

I finished the last page wishing I could know more about the characters. What I did learn about them was so intriguing that I still wonder about the rest of their backstories and how they developed into the men one glimpses in Skinz. This is definitely something that could be expanded into a novel or a series of short stories if Mr. Sutherland ever wanted to do so.

The only thing that kept this tale from getting five stars was its overuse of slang. I found some of the terms confusing at first and while I understand why Mr. Sutherland chose not to stop and explain what they meant as a reader it was distracting to puzzle certain words out while keeping up with a fast-paced, action-heavy plot. It’s not an issue if this sort of thing happens once or twice in a short story but when they become repetitive it distracts my attention from the plot.

Skinz is effortlessly creepy. It was only after I finished reading it and mulled over everything for a few days that the true horror of what happened fully sank in. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood to be deeply frightened.

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