Book Review: Skull Session by Daniel Hecht

Title: Skull Session

Author: Daniel Hecht

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Despite his brilliance, Paul Skoglund hasn’t held a steady job for years, partly because of his Tourette’s syndrome. When his eccentric, wealthy aunt asks him to take on the repairs of her magnificent hunting lodge, he is in no position to refuse. But then he finds that the rambling old house has been savagely vandalized: he discovers a scene of almost superhuman destruction, a violence mirrored by a series of disappearances and grisly deaths haunting the region. Paul delves into the wreckage, wondering what dark passion—and what strength—could cause such chaos. As state police investigator Mo Ford pursues the mystery through official channels, escalating events force Paul deeper into his family’s past and into the darker aspects of his own nature.

Do you know the kind of book that starts out great, builds this wonderful, delightfully creepy plot, introduces you to these amazing characters with detailed, complex, three-dimensional personalities, all of them with their own quirks and characteristics? The suspense is so palpable you’re on the edge of your seat and you just can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

Until it does play out, and the big reveal is so shocking you can barely believe what you’re reading – and unfortunately, not in a good way. The big climax is weird, out of place, and seemingly comes out of nowhere. It’s also utterly ridiculous, even within the bonds of the world described in this book.

So, basically, an amazing, atmospheric, eerie read… Up until the last thirty pages which, as one reviewer on Goodreads adequately described them: “the last 30 pages ripped off my head and pooped down my neck”. That’s the most adequate description I’ve found of that horrible, out-of-place, surreal ending.

Anyway, back to hte plot. Paul Skogland, our main character, has Tourette’s syndrom and struggles to cope with his symptoms, and with keeping a job. When his wealthy aunt wants him to repair the old family estate which she has left vacant for the past six months, Paul jumps at the opportunity. But the mayhem wrecked in the manor doesn’t seem like something that could be attributed to a regular person.The force seems almost too strong for that.

Then, when a local police detective investigates missing persons reports of several teenagers who disappeared in the past few months, and the traces lead him to the house Paul is renovating, Paul realizes that to face the monster inhabiting his ancestral home, he might first have to face the monster inside himself.

Worth a read especially if you like psychological horror / neurological thrillers, but I’m giving you a fair warning – you will probably either like the ending, or absolutely hate it.


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