My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you like werewolves, and you like the Old West, then Cherie Priest’s short story collection Dreadful Skin is a decent way to spend your time. We’ve got three interconnected stories here, featuring the werewolf Jack Gabert and the woman who hunts him, Eileen Callaghan, an Irish ex-nun who’s tracked him all the way to America.
The characters are sketched in with Priest’s usual deft touch, though due to the length of each story and to the propensity to change points of view with each scene change, ‘sketched in’ was about all each tale had time for. I found this frustrating, for Priest’s skill with her prose did indeed mean that each story gave me pieces of a much bigger story, one that I quite wanted to experience in greater depth.
Still, this was a fun read, if quick. Fans of werewolf-based urban fantasy may find this a trifle disappointing in that the werewolves in these tales are, in fact, monsters. As such, they are not intended to be sympathetic. I myself found this a refreshing change of pace, and a nice palette cleanser after the heavy diet of urban fantasy I’ve had these last several years. Three stars.