The Edge of Farallon


Fiction - Suspense
119 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Edge of Farallon by Peter Skinner is about finding your real happiness, it is about family, and it is about finding your place, especially when you have lost all hope. Wow, this was a quick read, but that does not mean this novel (or novella) lacked anything. It was fast paced, well-written, well-constructed, and had very well-developed characters. It is the perfect story that leaves you feeling fulfilled and really satisfied with its amazing theme of finding your own self and being able to stop fearing the unknown, especially when you know that you have your family right beside you.

Set in Northern California, The Edge of Farallon is the story of three people: two men and their niece. Their family’s land is in trouble and there is not much they can do about it except stick together and come up with a plan to save it. However, it is not easy, especially when family members are keeping secrets from each other. No one wants to work with the other, but they have no choice. They have to overcome their differences if they want to hold on to that land. But can they do it? Can they put their differences aside?

What can I say about Peter Skinner and his style of writing? The story is beautifully woven to paint pictures in your mind that you will not forget any time soon. His words have a powerful impact on you, especially when he is talking about love and family. The setting is wonderfully complementary of the theme of the novel. It is rugged, difficult and devastatingly beautiful. I loved absolutely everything about this novel. Very well written and well paced. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The amazing cover is just the cherry on top of this very entertaining, wholesome cake!

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

The Edge of Farallon by Peter Skinner is a dark, twisted tale of love and family. Lulu Willis is caught up in strange imaginings, thoughts about the mountain lion terrorizing the surroundings. Yet, something else haunts her soul. ”Something was coming... like a bleeding darkness.” A stranger arrives. He says his name is Sam. He rents one of the cabins on her family’s property near El Sur Grande. His reason for staying is ostensibly photography of birds, but Lulu knows better. Sam is seriously cold, way too guarded. Is he here for the lion, or something else? Lulu sneaks out into the night to find out the real purpose for Sam’s visit. The lion and Sam are one and the same - silent, stealthy and strong, hunters after their prey.

Peter Skinner’s The Edge of Farallon puts the creep in creepy. From the very beginning, there is an ominous foreboding lurking behind every penned word. Intentionally vague, it is a sinister short story full of shocking revelation into the human psyche. Weird and disturbed, each character emits strangeness. Skinner notably captures the sad and harsh reality of a failing mind in the character of Angus. Actions are calculated, the irony intoxicating. The use of nature in the symbolism of fog, wind and rain and the slightly allegorical element of the lion give the story depth of meaning. The dialogues are confusing, exchanges of random and disconnected thoughts, conversations of the unsaid, more than the said, untold truths and silent unforgettable realities. Skinner leaks tidbits of information as the story unravels. He places the reader into a family, taking a scene out of the middle of their lives. It is a bit too dark for my taste, but lovers of dark mystery are sure to enjoy.

Lit Amri

The Edge of Farallon by Peter Skinner is set on the foggy, rugged coast of Northern California, where brothers Frank and Angus Willis and their niece, Lulu, struggle over the fate of their family’s land, the purpose of their lives, and the secrets that they harbor. Lulu is convinced that the mysterious newcomer who called himself Sam is hired by Frank to kill Angus. Curiosity kept me glued to the pages as it took me quite a while to figure out what the story was all about, the characters, and the direction of the plot. However, I found out immediately that The Edge of Farallon is not a book to be consumed voraciously. Somehow, it doesn’t allow for it.

The characters are fascinatingly complex but relatable at the same time. I gravitated to Lulu first, particularly when she tied Sam up and left him to the mercy of the mountain lions. The prose and dialogue appear to be pertinent and straightforward, but tend to make one contemplate in order to understand the characters. Their inner and outer conflicts are sometimes revealed in pieces. In a way, this obliges any reader to slow down, whether they like it or not, perhaps to the point of pausing between paragraphs to ponder on the story. Arguably, the entire novel is a bit like one long poem, at least for me, where family conflict and drama are brewing with the mountains lions lurking in the background. That said, Skinner’s work is no doubt a solid literary offering.

Jack Magnus

The Edge of Farallon is a noir novel of suspense written by Peter Skinner. Lulu Willis knew instinctively that there was something off about the mysterious man her Uncle Angus claimed to have hired. Angus displayed some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, though the retired physics professor refused to submit to an examination, so his recall of such matters was not all that clear. The woods and trees of the Big Sur land her family had owned for decades also seemed to whisper of dark happenings. The man had arrived in a truck with changed license plates, and when Angus asked him his name, he had grabbed at the name “Sam” after seeing it on a box in the rustic cabin he was renting. Angus and Lulu loved their land on the edge of the continent and knew each phase of the weather, the wildlife and the stormy seas that knocked against the cliffs intimately. They were content with the minimal income to be gained from renting out their cabins to tourists as they traveled along the Route 1 highway, but Angus’s brother, Frank, needed money and was suspected of foully dealing with anyone who would get in the way of that need. Lulu soon realized that Sam, who was supposedly there to kill a renegade mountain lion that was killing dogs in the area, had darker things in mind. Lulu was not afraid of the dark; she had some of it within her as well. And there was something about Sam that drew her, a deadly aura that lured and spoke to her own darkness.

Peter Skinner’s dark psychological thriller, The Edge of Farallon, is suitably foreboding, lush and enticingly lovely. I was drawn to the title, having a long familiarity with, and love of, the wild coastal range where endless sea meets deep, primeval forest, and found myself blissfully at home in those wooded acres that comprise the Willis holdings. Skinner’s work is a demanding one, exacting from the reader an intense participation in the mysteries that lie within. His descriptions of that paradisaical area known as Big Sur are first-rate; you can sense the grandeur of the big trees, feel the chill of the dense fog that sweeps in with the scent of the Pacific and hear the distant barking of Angus’s “pinnipeds.” Lulu, Angus and Sam’s interactions are the stuff of high theatre; I began to envision this novel adapted for the stage as I was swept into the intrigue and the interplay of these three formidable characters who seem to be indulging in a deadly three-way chess game. His fourth human character, Gabriel, is unearthly, light-filled, and an intense counterpoint to the dark dance that dominates this thriller. I had a marvelous time reading this exceptional, unique, and unforgettable novel. The Edge of Farallon is most highly recommended.