Skin That Screams
Thomas Stewart
Unveiling Nightmares Ltd. (April 15, 2024)
Reviewed by Nora B. Peevy

Skin That Screams by Thomas Stewart is a collection of nightmare tales forcing readers to face their greatest fear – themselves. Stewart writes, about “misery … just being deadlocked in a state of entropy … unable to move or do anything to help yourself …” This is the detritus of our nightmares, those rotting, festering, niggling questions living inside your skin that come to life at 3AM when you can’t sleep. Skin That Screams is the perfect title for this book. All the stories deal with characters wanting to escape their own skin.

If we could escape our own skin, we could escape society’s ego, our vanity, our lover, our monster, and obsession with our own bodies. In “Plastique Wipes,” “Hunnyfresh,” “After Party,” and “Jared’s Other Half”, we take journeys of truth and discovery. If I’m younger and more attractive, do I have more value? If I’m skinnier, if I lose just a few pounds faster, will I feel more beautiful? If I can cut this ugly part of myself out that nobody sees but me, will the monster inside me go away? Stewart uses the subgenre of body horror to force us to look at these frequent questions.

Stewart uses simple language with frightful descriptions and fast paced scenes keeping the reader engaged in the gross horror of the moment. It is also hard to write a review of a body horror collection when Thomas Stewart so bravely shares about his own struggles with anorexia and bulimia at the beginning of the book. All these stories of transmogrification deal with adding or taking an aspect of yourself away. If you haven’t read this book, I hope you do. It will help you find a bit of yourself or a good scream under the covers, at least.

About Nora B. Peevy

Nora B. Peevy is a cat trapped in a human’s body. Please send help or tuna. She toils away for JournalStone and Trepidatio Publishing as a submissions reader, is a co-editor for Alien Sun Press, the newest reviewer for Hellnotes, and has been published by Eighth Tower Press, Weird Fiction Quarterly, and other places. Usually, you can find her on Facebook asking for help escaping from her human body or to get tuna. Tuna is nice. Cats like tuna.