When a string of grotesque killings begins to strike her small town, private detective Randi Wade becomes suspicious. The grisly murders remind her all too much of her own father's death over 20 years ago. Now there is a killer in town who not only slays his victims, but also takes their skin. Undaunted, Randi prods the police as the murders continue, each more brutal than the last. When a close friend suddenly becomes a target, he is forced to reveal a startling secret about himself and Randi is quickly pulled into a dark world within her own town where monsters exist and prey on the living.
Executive Producer: Laura Wilson
Producer: Paul Ruben
©1988 by George R.R. Martin
(P) Random House, Inc.
First read this back in the 1980's and enjoyed it hugely. It is a superb little yarn. My pleasure at finding it on Audible, however, was tempered by pretty dreadful narration - I know it is short, but surely they could have found someone (anyone!?) a bit better a story-telling? After all, that's what brings it all to life, it is more than just "reading out loud".
"Well done Werewolf tale"
I was very impressed with this tale about a city full of Werewolves. The narrators were well spoken and clearly understood their characters. Although, I like the narration performace of the female much better than the male.
The story was compelling and at times suspenseful. It's a new take on a classic genre. For anyone that like Werewolf stories, I suggest you give this audiobook a try.
"Will stretch your imagination."
Martin takes an especially vulgar, stunningly realistic approach to writing his science fiction. And it's absolutely marvelous if you can get into it.
He is an author, as I had learned from his other books, who is ruthlessly down-to-earth with his plots and is willing to kill off any characters that get in the way, whether they have "noble hearts" or not. This leaves you on the edge of your seat at all times, which is quite a contrast to the rather predicable majority of fiction authors.
This short story is a wonderful and haunting tale that really brings to life some of the most basic elements of fantasy & science fiction. It recaptures the mystique that has been lately lost by the overdose of generic monsters in modern video games and movies.
Skin Trade is a very unusual werewolf story, taking place in modern times and filled with Martin's vivid descriptions and clever twists. Typical of Martin's writing, it has a somewhat slow start, seeing as only one person dies on the first page. :P
But don't worry, you'll quickly be captivated by the story if you stick around for the juicy parts.
It does not matter if you like werewolves or not. If you like good fiction and don't have a weak stomach, then this book is for you. I have profoundly enjoyed all of Martin's books I have listened to so far, especially the Song of Ice and Fire series.
"It's not Song of Ice & Fire, but still good"
If you are looking for something similar to the A Song of Ice and Fire series, you will not be happy. But, if you like the werewolf/vampire/supernatural and also hard-boiled mystery stories, then you will enjoy this.
I wouldn't say that the narration enhanced the book, but it didn't detract either, which can happen in many disappointing instances here.
"Solid Werewolf Tale... Strange Narration"
I really enjoyed Skin Trade, despite the fact that it was WAY too short! My only problem with this novella was the fact that it was narrated in a funky manner. Two narrators seem to be tag-teaming the narration which makes this tape sound strange. One or the other, please...Or have the man narrate the male parts and the woman narrate the female parts... But instead they seem to be taking turns by chapter. Very weird. Overall, a great tale. Wish George had made it full length instead of just a short story!!
"The two readers are the worst aspect of this."
If there was only one reader preforming this story it would feel like it had a much better flow. but for as fast as it goes it's a fun time. A gory romp full of werewolves, murder, and mayhem.
"Loved the handoff reading."
I was not expecting a man/woman dual reading experience. Definitely add a lot to a light story.
I wish I had read a review of this story that had warned me that the story just stops in the middle of the story! Very frustrating. It's a great story. I wish the author had finished the story! I guess it's a literary device and perhaps "artistic license" to just end a book in the middle of the story. Personally I found it very disappointing. If I had known this about the book, I would never have purchased it!
"Atmospheric werewolf tale"
"Skin Trade", was published in the "Night Visions 5" anthology in 1989, and won the World Fantasy Award for best novella.
I picked it up because I wanted to see how it compared to "The Wolf's Hour" by Robert McCammon, which was also published in 1989, a year when werewolf novels were not a common phenomenon.
Where, "The Wolf's Hour" is a long, dark, sometimes lyrical, journey from the frozen forests of post-revolutionary Russia through to the heart of Nazi Germany, "Skin Trade" is a short, brutal, noirish, vision of an American city secretly governed by werewolves.
Wrapped in the skin of a conventional story of a hard-boiled (albeit female) private detective with a past, investigating a brutal crime that brings back memories of a personal tragedy, is an edgy, bloody, violent, werewolf horror story to chill your bones.
The pace is slower than a modern version of this tale would be but, for the most part, this adds to the tension. The point of view in the story switches between the human, female, hard-assed private detective and her asthmatic-as-a-human-but-not-as-a-wolf, debt-collecting, werewolf ("That's lycanthrope to you, Schmuck. It's a medical condition) friend.
The audiobook handles this by having two narrators. Each does a good job independently but the cutting between them, especially at the beginning, is a little rough and the two do not mimic each other's voices. This is a minor imperfection that did not spoil the book for me.
The story is reeks of blood and fear. It also contains a number of references that "Game Of Thrones" fans will recognize: strong, dangerous women, Dire Wolves, flayings, heroics from apparently weak/disabled characters and cryptic references to dark forces from another world that come to hunt the hunters.
If you have three and half hours to spare and want to open your mind to a different kind of werewolf tale, curl up in an armchair, preferably close to the fire, and listen to "Skin Trade".
I would recommend this story to anyone who likes werewolf fiction, mystery, or detective noir.
It has more in common with L.A. Confidential than Cycle of the Werewolf.
Great short listen Martin is a great enchanter unfortunately he doesn't finish his series like fire and ice which has left many of us in the wind.
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