Skip to main content

Skitter

Review

Skitter

It took me a lot longer to finish SKITTER than it should have. The reason is that I made the decision to read it during daylight --- morning and afternoon --- rather than late evening, when I normally do most of my review reading. So I read it in 15- to 30-minute increments instead of in one sitting as I ordinarily would have done. I decided that this retreat was the better part of valor due to the subject matter, which, if you read THE HATCHING, the predecessor to SKITTER, you already have some degree of familiarity. If not, permit me to enlighten you.

The propelling element of both books is spiders. We’re not talking about a giant spider that looks like a clown under a bridge in a small town, or something like that. No, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of these things, and they don’t run to a corner or slip under a light socket when they see you coming with a shoe or a newspaper. They skitter toward you and eat you. If you’re lucky.

"Any hope, however fleeting, that the pestilence introduced in THE HATCHING could be cleared up with a can of Raid, flamethrowers and gallon containers of Suspend are pretty much overrun here."

As I read SKITTER, even in broad daylight, I wondered why I keep doing this to myself. I tried the opening few pages before bedtime and had nightmares --- not surprising, because I have spider anxiety to such a degree that I really should talk to somebody --- and that was before things really kicked into gear. Those old friends of ours who made it to the end of THE HATCHING, as well as a few new ones, are back for another round, but you could pick this one up as a virgin to Ezekiel Boone’s tale --- which appears to be a trilogy at this point --- and, after reading a few chapters, be pretty much fully caught up as to what has gone before.

Boone keeps the scenery changing, from the research lab of Melanie Guyer --- who is one of the world’s greatest authorities on arachnids --- and the offices of the President of the United States, who has to make some very tough and unenviable decisions as to what to do as the spider infestation spreads in hopscotch fashion across the country and around the world --- from Minnesota and Ireland, to Japan, Peru and India. No place is safe, and the center is not holding, to say the least, as the populace is overrun (literally) by spiders behaving badly, unpredictably and in puzzling patterns.

SKITTER advances the plot on the research end, with Guyer slowly working her way toward an understanding of what is going on, using data acquired from archaeological digs to video obtained at a steep price to laboratory observation. Even those who think that the tarantulas that crawl up and down the arms of those guys on Nat Geo are the cutest little fellows will find themselves shaking their clothes and shoes out when getting dressed, and maybe doing a bed check (or two) before retiring for the night.

Any hope, however fleeting, that the pestilence introduced in THE HATCHING could be cleared up with a can of Raid, flamethrowers and gallon containers of Suspend are pretty much overrun here. Guyer seems close to a solution. Can she carry it out in enough time, or is it already too late? For all of the fright and anxiety that SKITTER gave me, I’ll be back in 2018 for ZERO DAY, the third volume. I have a really bad feeling about that poor doggie.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 26, 2017

Skitter
by Ezekiel Boone