An Army Of Skin
Morgan K. Tanner
January 14, 2019
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
Howdy friends! We’ve been busy getting our heads twisted by this heavy new novella by Morgan K. Tanner. It goes by the name An Army Of Skin and let me tell you, this book is going to mess with your mind! M.R. Tapia lent his skills to the production of An Army Of Skin and you can feel it. Tanner has a distinctive style all his own, but they are kindred spirits. If you’ve enjoyed anything from Hindered Souls Press, I guarantee you’re going to dig this cool read. Let’s check it out!
When we first meet Trevor King, he’s covered in blood and frustrated by his lack of sculpting skills. Everything went to shit after he lost his mother to a malignant brain tumor and it feels like he can’t do anything right. Not only that, but Trevor believes that her death was planned by the one person who should have been helping her, Dr. James Mellick. However, making this kind of accusation is pretty damn complicated and Trevor needs to have solid evidence to show the authorities before he sounds the alarm. Dr. Mellick isn’t just some random bad doctor, he’s also Trevor’s general practitioner. Could the very same man who treats Trevor for his anxiety issues be a killer?
Not only that, but Dr. Mellick also employs Trevor as a receptionist at his office and gives him preferred treatment, much to the frustration of office manager, Veronica. It’s obvious that Trevor isn’t a particularly good fit for his position, but that never lands him in hot water. He’s constantly coming in late and in rough shape from his nightly activities. And those nightly activities aren’t the hobbies of the average young man…Instead of a few pints with the lads and a roll in the hay with a beer goggle beauty, Trevor is busy picking up prostitutes and the odd homeless person for…um, sculpting purposes. Where did Trevor come by such a unique and grisly hobby? From his his benefactor, Dr. Mellick, of course! This makes Trevor wonder even more about what the good doctor up to. Who the hell hands their employee a strange textbook on how to create sculptures from dead bodies, Johnny Friendly?
He starts this process by flaying his victims alone in a storage unit owned by Dr. Mellick. But before long, Trevor is joined by some unusual helpers. The skins that Trevor has freed from their cumbersome bodies are coming back to a different kind of life than they previously led. The main thing being that they are subservient to Trevor or whoever releases them from bondage. At first, Trevor thinks this is kind of cool, but soon he’s wondering if empowering these skins was such a great idea. Whether he wants to stop his activities or not, it quickly becomes apparent that the growth of An Army Of Skins is out of his hands. They are more powerful than he ever thought possible and damn near indestructible. Plus, he needs their help to avenge his mother’s death.
Just when it looks like Trevor has Dr. Mellick squarely in his sights, the good doctor slips away from the office and starts spending a lot of time at St. Luke’s Hospital for the Insane. This is a bit strange, since the place has been closed for many years. What’s left is a vast derelict wasteland that any self-respecting citizen would want to avoid. Trevor tries to find out what Mellick is up to, but playing detective nearly costs him his own life. Not exactly what he was planning on!
Things continue to ramp up in intensity on both sides, until the story is racing along at breakneck speed. Somebody breaks into Trevor’s house after he finds some very incriminating paperwork in Dr. Mellick’s office while pulling patient files. Talk about hitting the bullseye! But his findings give him more information than Trevor was expecting and it it leaves him feeling oddly conflicted. Instead of a simple takedown, things get twisted until Trevor seems to be bent on destroying himself. Then when he finally does contact the police, things turn out a LOT differently than the reader expects.
Wow! 5 Stars for this original and captivating novella by Morgan K. Tanner! Thanks to M.R. Tapia for helping this fine piece of writing emerge into the world. An Army of Skin is a great read and the cover will keep people on the train from bothering you as well! Available for purchase at your favorite booksellers and at Amazon.com. Want to find out what Morgan K. Tanner is up to next? Then follow him at: www.morgantanner.com or on Twitter @morgantanner666