Monday, March 6, 2017

Skulls by Tim Marquitz review

Cover Art:  Jessica Lucero

Life held little interest for Jacob...until he found death.

Abused and neglected, Jacob's only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend.  But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares.  Through their eyes he watches them die.

With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur.  A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again.  But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come.  Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.

I've read a few of Tim's books, but this one really took me by surprise.  I'll admit, I bought it simply because it was out of print and I knew I'd want it for his shelf in my library.  I planned to read it eventually.  Over the weekend, I felt it calling to me and I quickly became lost in it.

The description in this book is astounding.  Tim uses minimal words and crafts them to create an experience.  You don't even have to close your eyes to be 'there' in the story.  I could actually taste the nasty, microwaved steak in my mouth.  I'm seriously blown away.  I don't remember the last time I read such vividness.

I've come to know Tim as a gore master.  In this book, there's some of it, but it's not as rampant in some of his other works.  I feel like he kept it on a leash in order to add more terror than blood.  He completely succeeds.  This is a terrifying story.

We're faced with a bit of a mystery.  We know there's a serial killer and that the skulls belong to him/her.  We don't know who the serial killer is.  Now, I was able to figure it out pretty quickly.  Thankfully, there was enough misdirection that most of the book was spent questioning myself.  I thought I knew who it was, but it was just a hunch.  I could easily have been wrong.  Normally, when I can figure out the mystery, it's a rough point with me.  In this case, I'm not even mad.  I had so much fun waiting to find out that I was right!

I only have one minor complaint.  I despised the addition of the last chapter.  Now, I realize that not everyone reads like I do.  People have different tastes and require different endings.  I do see the necessity for it.  I just hated it.  So, consider yourself warned.  If you get to the end of chapter twenty-five and you feel sated, stop.  Don't read the last chapter.  If, however, you need things wrapped in a neat little bow, continue reading.

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