Skitter – The Arachnid Apocalypse Continues

It was a big freaking spider.

These are the very first words of Skitter by Ezekiel Boone, which continues where last year’s The Hatching left off. (Read the review.) After thousands of years of dormancy, the flesh eating spider swarms made their global debut. It’s only been a couple weeks since their arrival, but to those inside the catastrophe, it’s been an eternity. In an attempt to eradicate the insects, China has obliterated half its territory with nukes. Los Angeles, thanks to the spiders and the quarantine declared by President Pilgrim, has become a dystopia where a former conman becomes a prophet leading an army of thousands. Many parts of the world have become completely cut off. And it’s only the beginning, Arachnid expert Melanie Guyer has discovered there’s another hatching coming and the new batch of spiders is even worse.

Once again, Boone brings us creepy crawly terror galore. (Anyone prone to nightmares involving spiders and/or other insects should probably give this series a pass.)  Characters such as Dr. Guyer, President Stephanie Pilgrim, her aide Manny, Shotgun the survivalist, and others are back. Boone cleverly arranges things so many of the new characters collide and interact with one another in fun and ingenious ways. There’s an especially hilarious segment where the flamboyantly gay Fred welcomes an army platoon with mint juleps and the promise of pulled pork tacos.

In some parts of the world, like a remote Scottish island or for vacationers in Hawaii, life goes on as usual, albeit with more limited supplies. But in other places civilization has broken down completely and, while various scientific geniuses are making new discoveries about the spiders and how perhaps to combat them, President Pilgrim is forced into ever harder choices that in a sense mean abandoning, or worse yet, sacrificing huge swaths of the country altogether.

There are two flaws; one the subplot involving Agent Mike Rich and his family is cut off from the rest of the book and frankly less interesting. Skitter, the middle chapter of a planned trilogy (Zero Hour comes out in 2018), inevitably has several open plot lines which, while they will no doubt be headed for resolution in the conclusion, may well irritate readers who prefer instant gratification.  (These people should probably wait for all three books to come out, before attacking the trilogy as a set.) But this second entry once more demonstrates Boone’s talent for building suspense. He certainly leaves the reader hungry for more.

Ezekiel Boone

Top photo: Bigstock

About Winnefred Ann Frolik (155 Articles)
Winnefred Ann Frolik (Winnie for short) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed the International Baccleareate program at Schenley High School and then attended the University of Pittsburgh where she completed a double major in English Literature and Creative Writing. After graduation she spent a number of years working in the non-profit sector and it was during that phase in her life she moved to D.C.  Winnie co-wrote a book on women in the U.S. Senate with Billy Herzig.  She enrolled in a baking program in culinary school and worked in food services for a while. She currently works in personal services while writing for Woman Around Town and doing other freelance writing projects including feeble personal attempts at fiction. Her brother is a reporter in Dayton, Ohio so clearly there are strong writing genes in the family.  She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with two demanding cats.