Monday, March 24, 2014

The Skull by Shaun Hutson

The Skull 
by Shaun Hutson 
Leisure Books 1982

A contractor finds a vial with a tiny skull in it during a construction dig.  Turns out it's an homunculus from the 16th century, an alchemist's experiment in creating life.  There is a series of tunnel under the construction dig leading to sealed off chambers.  What are in those chambers, and the story behind the creation of the homunculus is a fascinating read...
...I would think, but unfortunately Hutson drops these threads and burns pages talking about the difficulties of working construction in the rain.

The skull gets blood dripped on it, it grows flesh, and becomes a man-eating beast.  It is also contagious.  And here I thought it was just an archaic metaphorical concept, but nope, it eats people.  It also proves very vulnerable to conventional weapons, as it's brought down by shotguns and then run over with a car.

An early attempt by Hutson, and he hadn't quote found his groove yet.  The pace is too slow, not enough scares, not enough depth, and not enough of the gore he's given us in later books.

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