Dreadful Skin

Dreadful Skin

Illustration By Mark Geyer

Illustrated by Mark Geyer

I ducked into a niche between a cabin and the pilot house and hiked my skirt up enough to reach down into my garter holster.  I've heard it said that God made all men, but Samuel Colt made all men equal. 

We'd see what Mr. Colt could do for a woman.

* * * * *

Jack Gabert went to India to serve his Queen. He returned to London a violently changed man, infected with an unnatural sickness that altered his body and warped his mind.

Eileen Callaghan left an Irish convent with a revolver and a secret. She knows everything and nothing about Jack's curse, but she cannot rest until he's caught. His soul cannot be saved. It can only be returned to God.

In the years following the American Civil War, the nun and unnatural creature stalk one another across the United States. Their dangerous game of cat and mouse leads them along great rivers, across dusty plains, and into the no man's land of the unmarked western territories.

Here are three tales of the hunt.

Reader, take this volume and follow these tormented souls. Learn what you can from their struggle—against each other, against God, and against themselves.

("The Wreck of the Mary Byrd," the opening novella-length installment of Dreadful Skin, was serialized this fall on the SubPress website.)

* * * * *

Subterranean Press is proud to announce Cherie Priest's hardcover debut, available as a signed limited edition, featuring eight full-page black-and-white illustrations by Mark Geyer (The Green Mile).

Limited: 1500 signed hardcover copies

From Publishers Weekly:
"A runaway Irish nun pursues a murderous werewolf across post-Civil War America in this riveting Southern gothic from Priest (Wings to the Kingdom)...the haunting characters will keep readers turning the pages. When one must become a monster in order to kill a monster, can the hunt still be justified. This book raise tantalizing philosophical questions about good and evil as well as the roles of hunter and prey."

From Green Man Review:
"The basics are interesting -- Jack Gabert, a young Englishman, returns from India with a bad case of lycanthropy; Priest describes it initially in a tentative, almost coy manner that is quite chilling. (I was pleasantly reminded of Kipling's 'Mark of the Beast,' where a certain vagueness of detail is more frightening than a more modern-style graphic narrative.) Gabert acquires an antagonist in the person of an Irish nun, Sister Eileen Callaghan, who identifies Gabert's predations among the poor prostitutes of London. Sister Eileen correctly determines that Gabert is no mortal monster, and decides that his soul cannot be saved -- it can only be returned to God. With this terrifying judgment and hubris, she becomes his hunter, beginning a chase that will take them both on to the wider and wilder stage of America. The novel is comprised of three separate novellas recounting their dangerous mutual hunt; the seams between them are well-matched, though, and the three sections work fine as chapters in a larger story."

From Bookslut:
"I was fairly dazzled by Dreadful Skin, by the innovative way that Priest has found to tell an age old story and by the richly chosen words she has used to embrace it. This one crosses all the genre lines and soundly delivers on the promise of good storytelling. A reader could not ask for anything more from a fiction writer, and Cherie Priest, thankfully, has given us her best."

From Weird Tales:
"While there is still no archetypal werewolf novel in the way Dracula serves for vampires, Dreadful Skin comes closer in my opinion to demonstrating just how seductive and soul-destroying lycanthropy could be."

From The Rocky Mountain News:
"In her third novel, Priest does for werewolves what George R. R. Martin did for vampires in Fevre Dream. Add some similarity to Joe Lansdale's horror Westerns, Dead in the West and The Magic Wagon, and you get a pretty good idea what to expect from Dreadful Skin."

From The Sacramento News and Reviews:
"Priest's first novel, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, made gothic mincemeat of Southern history. Dreadful Skin solidifies her horror cred."

From Fantasybookspot.com:
"Priest shows with Dreadful Skin that she's both a versatile wordsmith and storyteller, and most comfortable in the south where the ghosts and ghouls roam wildly. If you enjoyed Priest's other work, Dreadful Skin is highly recommended."

From Locus:
"Another woman joins Elaine in that quest, and results will be bloody. Does that turn them into dark goddesses of divine justice? Or are they, now and always, fully human? Addressed with enought finesse (as they generally are here) such questions can turn both melodrama and gorefest into more than a series of cheap thrills."

Mark Geyer
Cherie Priest
234 pages
United States
Out of Print