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Skull Session [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Hecht
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Natural History
Neil Cross is a British novelist and screenwriter best known as the creator of the multiple-award-winning international hit BBC crime series Luther. Natural History, his latest effort, is a suspense novel using an animal sanctuary as an intriguing setting.

Book Description

Back in print and accompanied by its prequel Puppets, the bestselling Skull Session is a classic tale of suspense. Despite his brilliance, Paul Skoglund hasn't held a steady job for years, partly because of his Tourette's syndrome. When his eccentric, wealthy aunt asks him to take on the repairs of her magnificent hunting lodge, he is in no position to refuse. But then he finds that the rambling old house has been savagely vandalized: he discovers a scene of almost superhuman destruction, a violence mirrored by a series of disappearances and grisly deaths haunting the region. Paul delves into the wreckage, wondering what dark passion-and what strength-could cause such chaos. As state police investigator Mo Ford pursues the mystery through official channels, escalating events force Paul deeper into his family's past and into the darker aspects of his own nature.

Editorial Reviews Review

Guitarist Daniel Hecht sold a lot of albums in the 1970s and '80s: his Willow on the Windham Hill label might be sitting in your closet. But in 1989 a hand ailment turned Hecht's talents to writing, and the first published result is as dazzling and moving as his music. In this novel, gifted Vermont woodworker Paul Skoglund has learned to live with and basically control his Tourette's syndrome, thanks to early training from his caring father and daily doses of haloperidol. But the drug has also burned away the once-sharp edge of his creativity, and Paul has been having a hard time earning a living. So when his eccentric Aunt Vivien offers him a job restoring her old house in Lewisboro, New York, Skoglund is glad to accept--even though it will take him away from his 8-year-old son, Mark, who suffers from neurological troubles of his own. It turns out that the house has been savaged by vandals who are apparently linked to several local teenagers who have disappeared in recent months. While state police investigator Morgan Ford pursues the mystery in an official way, Paul and his fearless lover Lia discover that the damage to the house is of unnatural--possibly even demonic--origins. Hecht balances these diverse elements with impressive artistry, all the while making us care for the fate of his characters.

From Library Journal

In this debut novel, a monster is haunting Highwood, the large old family home of Paul Skoglund's aunt, Vivien Hoffman. The monster has nearly destroyed the house and its contents, flinging large appliances and furniture about, breaking walls and windows. Or perhaps the vandalism has been done by teenagers, some of whom have since disappeared or died mysteriously. Paul, unemployed and handicapped by Tourette's syndrome, accepts the challenge of restoring the home for his wealthy but unlovable aunt. Aided by his lover, Lia, and a sweetly melancholic cop, Paul begins the repair process while searching for the cause of the destruction. Just as Paul's father helped him learn to handle his compulsive behavior, Paul hopes to help his own son. But Paul's father committed suicide?or did he? A marvelous mix of modern Gothic horror and romance, with a generous helping of bioscience, this is a guaranteed page-turner for Koontz fans with a moderate tolerance for detached body parts.
-?Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1297 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (December 11, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002STNBO8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,158 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ive read it twice January 13, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Of the countless books I've read in my 26 years, this one will remain in my top ten for one reason: I hadnt even gotten through the first ten pages before I realized that I have the same condition as the main character. His Tourette's affects him in horrible ways, while mine has rarely been more than a slight nuisance (and sometimes a good conversation piece), but the similarities were too great to ignore. For that reason alone I'll be greatful to Daniel Hecht for writing this book. BUT...without the revelation that I have the same condition as the protagonist, this would still be a memorable book, full of suspence and downright creepy scenes. When an author makes you do research, seeing if what happened in the book actually exists (I'm not speaking of Tourette's, but of another subject which I can't reveal) then you know he's done a good job. This is a wild book, from beginning to end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A league of his own April 28, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Daniel Hecht is a man of formidable talent and imagination. He tackles themes less courageous writers wouldn't dream of touching. I was quite simply blown away by Skull Session, rooted in place, desperate to find out what happened next and yet (as with any splendid book) deeply reluctant to have it end. Tourette's Syndrome has become rather a popular subject in recent years, but Daniel Hecht brought it forward, made it real and comprehensible. He is a fearless, powerfully gifted writer, and while this is not a book for the faint of heart, it is one for those who want something new and different and ferociously intelligent. I would not hesitate to buy anything this author writes, and his second effort, The Babel Effect, proved that Hecht will go on to produce more books of the highest calibre. He is one of the best new writers around today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good first novel from Hecht November 17, 2003
By Brian
This book is a part medical part psychological thriller. The main character Paul Skoglund is an out of work carpenter who suffers from mild Tourettes syndrome. When his reclusive Aunt Vivien offers him work, to fix up her isolated mansion, he readily agrees despite her difficult reputation. When he gets there a mystery is revealed, he realises that the extreme damage to the house was likely caused by a human, yet he can find no explanation how a human could have had such strength. About this time, he decides to stop using his medication. The mystery deepens when he meets his aunt, and her interest and knowledge concerning his neurological condition puzzles him. Then there is the mysterious suicide of his father years before, and revealed is his familial history of neurological disorder. As he works on the house, the plot draws in a detective who is investigating a series of unexplained gruesome murders and dissapearances in the area (The detectives character is very well drawn in places - i really admired the part where he expresses suffering (being a recently divorced bachelor) at having to visit famillies homes and interview the pretty wives), a local thug/cop who wants Paul to leave, and the sociopathic son of Vivien, his cousin Royce. As Paul reads Viviens scattered letters and documents which he finds in the house, he finds that his painful past is becoming ever more revealed. Then there is his vicious ex wife and his son, who inherited his head problems. Finally the tale becomes almost paranormal as the true cause of the disturbances at the mansion are laid bare, and a terrifying confrontation looms.
Up until the last hundred pages, the novel was doing very well indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hecht of a Thriller October 10, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Skull Session" is certainly one of the most original thrillers I've read recently. Mr. Hecht is certainly a master of unique characterizations and neurological information. Although I think the book is really "Over-rated" by the majority of literary critics, it IS a great read. Sometimes the dialogue is a little repetitive, and some of the scenarios are a little too lengthy to help maintain the suspense, but overall "Skull Session" is a worthwhile read.
There are many superlative characterizations. Of course, the leading characters of Paul and Lia are rich and provocative; sympathetic and believable; tragic and heroic. Along with them are some really excellent supporting characters, the most effective being Morgan Ford, the detective who becomes embroiled in the complex plot involving the vandalism of a wealthy woman's historic lodge and the mysterious disappearances of several teenagers. Mo (as he is called) has a disturbing past, and carries this along with the weight of his divorce. His insecurities, the desire for female companionship again, and his mania over resolving the case in his own "renegade" manner is intelligent and gripping. His ultimate fate, however, is a very disturbing part of the book that I wish Hecht had redirected, although it does have a tremendous emotional impact. Also very interesting is Heather Mason, a teenage girl with severe emotional problems who provides clues in the case, in spite of her parent's objections. Peter Rizal, a macho cop, is also quite well-drawn. Royce, Aunt Vivien, Demory Corrigan, Janet Skoglund, Mark Skoglund, the list could go on---there are richly drawn characters, which is what makes this book so rewarding in the long run. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is it's a little too lengthy and I really hated what happens with Morgan Ford. But, hey, what the Hecht? This is a very good book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but the Kindle formatting is awful
I absolutely love this story. Brilliant writing and great plot twists through to the end with characters you cannot help but become attached to.
However... Read more
Published 6 days ago by S. Steinbeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Daniel Hecht's Skull Session is a Must Read
I bought this book recently and absolutely loved it. The main character suffers from Tourette's Syndrome which plays heavily throughout the storyline. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars good
Very good and well thought out. However, the amount of spelling and grammatical errors throughout the entire book made it hard to get into all the way.
Published 16 months ago by Shawna Newcomb
4.0 out of 5 stars Living with Tourette's syndrome
Paul Skoglund is afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome. Getting work is difficult and when his aunt asks him to repair her hunting lodge, he accepts. Read more
Published 20 months ago by michael a. draper
5.0 out of 5 stars Under The Skin and Into The Skull
Hecht is a master at taking us into the minds of people who live in alternative realities, in this case a man with a very particular mental disorder. Read more
Published on October 6, 2012 by Melanie Jackson
2.0 out of 5 stars speaking of mysterious crashes...
Some good writers, or should I say writers that write good stuff, dangle before us some apparition or occurrence that MUST be supernatural, because we can't think of how it could... Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by K. Maxwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Scary
This is one of the few horror books I've ever read that truly scared me. That's probably as much a commentary on the state of modern horror as it is on the excellence of Skull... Read more
Published on April 26, 2012 by Niall Lynch
1.0 out of 5 stars superhuman psycho on the loose

Paul Skoglund accepts to work as repairman at his aunt's huge countryside house. Read more
Published on April 10, 2012 by sid1gen
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version horrible
The book itself was OK, thus the three stars. I read the Kindle version, and it was BY FAR the worst kindle book I've read. There were literally hundreds of typos. Read more
Published on February 14, 2012 by Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Skull Session
Though I read this book a while ago I still think about it. They way Daniel put the characters together was incredible. I still feel their frailties and their strength. Read more
Published on October 30, 2011 by Gary Scott Gebert
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