Author: Scott Nicholson
Genre: Suspense/Psychological Thriller
“The scrapes of imagine, thoughts like broken glass, a jigsaw-puzzle dream with its pieces spilled in dark water, reflections in fractured mirrors, the splintered bones of memories, fantasies built on smothering air, and clashing together like invisible armies in the night.”
Summary is from Haunted Computer Books.
Julia Stone will remember, even if it kills her.
Dr. Pamela Forrest is determined to bring Julia's memories to the surface, hoping to heal Julia's panic disorder. The therapist keeps returning Julia to a night twenty-three years ago when Julia was four. A night of hooded figures, strange chants, pain, and blood. The night her father disappeared from the face of the earth.
Julia rebuilds the past a piece at a time during the mind-wrenching therapy sessions. But the line between the past and the present begins to blur. Julia finds a silver skull ring that bears the name "Judas Stone." The same ring had been worn by one of the hooded figures who scarred her both mentally and physically on that long-ago night.
Someone is leaving strange messages inside her house, even though the door is locked. The religious handyman, who has a key, spends a lot of time in the woods behind her house. Her boyfriend Mitchell becomes distant and violent. And the cop who investigated her father's disappearance has followed her to the small Appalachian town of Elkwood.
Now she has a head full of memories, but she doesn't know which are real and which are the creations of Dr. Forrest. The shadows of Julia's panic are growing larger and darker. But succumbing to madness seems safer than heeding the whispers of the master who claims ownership of her body and soul.
What I Thought Of This Book
First I want to thank Scott Nicholson for graciously sending me this book for review. It is currently published by Haunted Computer Books. They specialize in e-books; however, you can get a signed paperback of this book on Scott’s webpage. He was kind enough to send this to me in PDF format, because I don’t have an e-reader yet. All right on to the review.
Every page of The Skull Ring is exciting and full of intrigue. I was captured from the very first line until the end. It was not as supernaturally based as I thought it would be. It is definitely more toward a psychological thriller angle, with almost no supernatural involved. I think that worked in the story’s favor. It made you even more unsure if the main character, Julia, was sane or not.
The characterizations were well done. I knew instantly whom I should like and dislike at the beginning of the story, by the way, the characters were described, or what they did and said. I was extremely fond of Julia. I liked the way she thought and her little quips. I felt so deeply sorry for her as well. Not only did she suffer childhood trauma, but also people in her life were continuously trying to manipulate her.
My favorite part was the writing style. I have always loved when authors are as fond of the use of metaphors and similes as I am. Scott Nicholson is one of those authors. It was awesome. Especially when the main character suffers from a panic disorder. He was able to come up with so many ways to describe fear.
Overall, The Skull Ring is an exciting ride. It is obviously rather dark. It is however written with many light moments to contrast with the dark moments. I love a little humor in the dark places. It's good that I enjoy Scott Nicholson's writing since he also sent me a book called The Drummer Boy. I'll probably start reading that in the next few weeks.
Facts I Found Interesting
Hmm...I wish I were more fact finding on this one. I will give you a link to Scott’s Blog to make up for it.
There's no movie yet. Oooh! I think this would translate to film wonderfully. I thought it was a very cinematic book.
Music To Read By
Well, my favorite thing to do while reading this was listening to something on the Investigation Discovery channel on TV. In hindsight, I’m not sure that was a great idea since most of those shows deal with murder. Oh well, it didn’t give me bad dreams so I think I’m okay. Haha. I know some people can’t read well in front of the television, but I’m one of those people who needs to hyper focus on two things at once. Don’t ask me how it works, but it does. I used to have to do my homework in front of the TV just to get anything done.
I did listen to some music. A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds to Mars, Passion Leaves a Trace by Black Lab, Stromata by Charlotte Martin, and my personal favorite, The Hours Soundtrack. I’m going through a Phillip Glass phase.
The Skull Ring Playlist
Unwell - Matchbox 20
Keep Myself Awake - Black Lab
Haunted - Poe
Beautiful Lie - 30 Seconds To Mars
An Unwelcome Friend - Phillip Glass
O Death - Jen Titus
Fever Dream - Tyler Bates
Saint Judas - Natalie Merchant
(Note: My nod to the mention of Natalie Merchant in the book. There were other musical references, but Natalie fit my playlist the best. I kind of doubt Julia would listen to this particular song though. I think it would freak her out. Ha ha.)
Unbreakable - Fireflight
Redeemed - Charlotte Martin
I did it! I got this post out today. I had to eat a Snickers and drink a Diet Dr. Pepper to give me an extra boost, but I did it. Yay! Still I think perhaps my Lovely Bones movie review will have to wait until tomorrow. I taught 5 dance classes and took 1 this morning. I'm beat. See you later loves. Keep it shiny!