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  • Writer's pictureFD Gross

Book Review for In Sheep's Skin

Greetings fellow travelers. I hope these have brought you some solace in the midst of this proclaimed pandemic times. In the interim of this said "pandemic" I'd like to share with you a book I recently ready by author Scott Hale, a wonderful colleague of mine in the writing industry, a man of exquisite talent and profound knowledge of horror. His latest work involves a haunted living place that will provide to you anything you desire and the formidable, yet highly underrated supernaturalism of werewolves.

Please journey forward and take a look at my recent review of his work. If this is your sort of thing, make sure to get yourself a copy.

Review of In Sheep's Skin:

My first impression of this story, after reading part one, was that it was going to be a balls to the wall, action horror book, filled with grime and guts, werewolves tearing hearts out at every chance they get, but it turned out to be much more than that. In fact, there are four parts to the story which lend a helping hand to a well-paced psychological horror themed, sociopathic, bleed all over the pages kind of experience. Hale’s background in social work speaks volumes in this latest installment of his library works. 

In Sheep’s Skin is a very different type of story, much so in fact, it is a nice change set from his Bone’s of the Earth series. It gives the reader a chance to explore other avenues that Hale has to offer. This story, although themed with elements of the occult and werewolves, touches on the human psyche more than anything, even more than the supernatural itself. With two protagonists that serve as antagonist to one another, Peter and Mary, they succumb to a horrible event together by chance and coincidence, which makes the read that more enticing. They undergo quite a love / hate relationship that seemingly confuses the reader at first, but over time, Hale’s murder mystery romp comes to a head, fully steaming and ready to explode. Many eyebrows will raise and many moralistic values will be challenged.  

Despite the initial seemingly lack of actual werewolf action through most of the book, there is plenty of werewolf lore to go around. Traditional silver bullets and wolfsbane is utilized which was a nice throwback to original folklore. And the werewolf foreshadowing bits was a nice touch during dramatic exchanges between Mary and Peter. Also, there is a hint to an order that hunts werewolves, but I’m not giving any spoilers. I thought overall Hales approach to the genre remained true to the tradition and yet was still able to add his own twist to this type of ancient story telling.

Rich descriptive scenes and the inner struggles each Mary and Peter face from their past added a nice flavor-full twist to the direction of the story. At certain points, the reader is tricked into rooting for certain sides, yet the truth is never revealed until the end. And what an ending. It is no surprise Hale stays true to his art of horror. There is nothing short of super descriptive blood y scenes full of breaking bones, eviscerated flesh, and broken teeth. The daunting words on the back of the book, “Blood begets its truth,” speaks volumes. It surely supports that overall theme he was working for. 

And one of the most haunting, daunting places in the entire book, was Goetia. This fort of decay and ruin lives on in the heart of its heir, while continuing to breathe malignancy into the air surrounding Talbot, the main setting of where the story takes place. Point in fact, Goetia is one scary yet beautiful place, and Hale couldn’t have described it any better. Places that live and breathe always sets the mood for something sinister, even if in the minds of the characters, they believe nature is providing them a way to paradise.

Blood, sacrifice, and murder. In Sheep’s Skin no doubt has it all. It is occult horror at its finest, and demonstrates a new direction in Scott Hale’s writing, (even if there are some traces of The Bones of the Earth series) which has led this book to be a new staple in his horrific collection of macabre meanderings.

5 out of 5 stars.

F. D. Gross

Also, don't forget that Communion, book 3 of the Wolfgang Trilogy, is now available where ever books are sold. Please check out the main website for additional information.

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