GEORGE R. R. MARTIN – THE SKIN TRADE AUDIOBOOK(FREE)
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!!
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 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.