Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Dreadful Skin by Cherie Priest

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
I ducked into a niche between a cabin and the pilot house and hiked my skirt up enough to reach down into my garter holster. I've heard it said that God made all men, but Samuel Colt made all men equal. We'd see what Mr. Colt could do for a woman.
Jack Gabert went to India to serve his Queen. He returned to London a violently changed man, infected with an unnatural sickness that altered his body and warped his mind. Eileen Callaghan left an Irish convent with a revolver and a secret. She knows everything and nothing about Jack's curse, but she cannot rest until he's caught. His soul cannot be saved. It can only be returned to God. In the years following the American Civil War, the nun and unnatural creature stalk one another across the United States. Their dangerous game of cat and mouse leads them along great rivers, across dusty plains, and into the no man's land of the unmarked western territories.

Here are three tales of the hunt. Reader, take this volume and follow these tormented souls. Learn what you can from their struggle against each other, against God, and against themselves.
My Thoughts: This was an interesting book.  It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, Cherie Priest does an excellent job of making me think I'm going to be getting one thing and then turning around and tweaking it just enough that I'm stunned by how it turns out.  She did that to me in Fathom also.  On one hand it can be disconcerting and yet ... she's never predictable.  I can't complain when an author leaves me thinking.

Narrative-wise, the book is divided into three separate stories that span years and miles.  The chapters switch narrators, flowing between the characters that populate each of the stories.  This bogs the first section down a bit since it seemed that we kept getting the same information form three different perspectives, but it felt seamless in the 2nd and 3rd stories.

Sister Eileen is a strong, brave heroine who has filled her life with this burning purpose that she can share with no one and who ultimately becomes caught in the web of the very thing she's hunting.  She's pragmatic, she's blunt, she's not blind to the way the world is moving on.

Overall, I enjoyed Cherie Priest's take on the werewolf myth.  It wasn't romanticized (although I like those, too) and it fits in the horror genre closer than any other I can think of.  It's creepy, bloody and a bit sad.  And it's not for the faint of heart.

More books by Cherie Priest
 

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