Skitter: The Hatching Series, Book 2 by Ezekiel BooneSkitter: The Hatching Series, Book 2 by Ezekiel Boone

Skitter: The Hatching Series, Book 2

byEzekiel Boone

Paperback | May 30, 2017

see the collection Tales of Horror

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Ezekiel Boone continues his shivery and wildly entertaining homage to classic horror novels with Skitter, the second book in his The Hatching series. There's a reason we're afraid of spiders...


Ezekiel Boone's astonishingly inventive debut, The Hatching, was a terrifying account of an apocalyptic week in which an ancient breed of carnivorous spiders woke from their 10,000-year slumber and caused carnage around the world. Then suddenly they started to die in waves, leaving shattered human survivors to take a deep, relieved breath, and begin to clean up the mess and rebuild their lives. But spider expert Melanie Guyer, and the crisis team the US president and her chief of staff has assembled around her, are pretty sure that this isn't the last they've seen of these eight-legged predators. Something else is coming, something connected to the eerie stashes of glowing white eggs the spiders left in places like LA's Staples Center--something very very bad.
     Something that will test the capacity of the entire human race to survive.
EZEKIEL BOONE is a Canadian writer who lives in upstate New York with his wife and children. The author lives in Ithaca, NY.
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Title:Skitter: The Hatching Series, Book 2Format:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 9.1 × 6.3 × 1 inShipping dimensions:9.1 × 6.3 × 1 inPublished:May 30, 2017Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:034581651X

ISBN - 13:9780345816511

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Terrible! Just a bunch of pages to fill will things that don't matter. Spiders is what the boom I suppose to be about and only 3 pages of them in the entire book. Huge let down
Date published: 2018-04-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from an okay read. i loved the first book in the series but was disappointed in this sequel. this novel focuses more on the political side of the disaster and well as disaster management rather than the creepy spiders. i wanted to see more about the spiders themselves. hope book three is better. syndi
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great sequel Skitter was a great sequel to The Hatching. Can't wait for book3! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-06-17

Read from the Book

PROLOGUELander, WyomingIt was a big freaking spider. That was the only reason he screamed. He wasn’t afraid of spiders. Really. But the thing had been the size of a quarter. Right on his cheek. He’d been backpacking solofor fifteen days, and he hadn’t been scared once. Until his last day out, today, when he woke up with a scary, hairy, ugly spider on his cheek. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Fifteen days alone in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, not seeing another living soul the entire time? Fifteen days of scrambling across scree fields, traversing open ridges, even doing a little free solo rock climbing despite what he’d promised his dad? He’d have to be a complete moron not to feel a little twinge of concern here and there. And Winthrop Wentworth Jr.—nineteen, the son of privilege—was not a complete moron.Win had been on the road nonstop for ten months. Biking through Europe, surfing in Maui, scuba diving in Bonaire, skiing in the Alps, partying in Thailand. His father owned a hedge fund and a significant stake in three different sports teams and family vacations had tended toward butlers and private jets and water that you could drink without worrying about dysentery. But Win’s dad had earned his money the hard way and liked the idea of his son taking a gap year before he started Yale. He wanted Win to have the year off that he was never able to take as a young man. So Win had a pair of credit cards with no spending limits and instructions to check in every week. He had started off right after high school graduation with five of his private school buddies, biking across Italy and then driving through the old Eastern Bloc countries. Every week or two a couple of friends would take off and a couple more would join on. That lasted through mid-August, when all his friends had headed home to get ready for college. Since then,it had just been Win. He didn’t mind. He never had a problem making friends along the way.It wasn’t that Win was a particularly good-looking kid. He was tall, which was good, but kind of scrawny, which wasn’t. But he was confident, he spoke French, Italian, and a smattering of Chinese, and he was genuinely interested in other people. And he was rich. Smacking down a black American Express Centurion Cardor his gold-colored but just as heavy-sounding JP Morgan Chase Palladium Visa to buy a round or three, to hire a boat for the day for the seven other backpackers he’d just met in Phuket, or to buy a new suit and pay extra to have it tailored while he waited so he could take a woman twice his age to dinner at a very small, very exclusive restaurant in Paris, meant that he made friends wherever he went. It also meant he got laid a lot. Not a bad way to spend ayear between high school and college. But by the middle of the following April, all this adventure had started to drag at him a little. Despite his father’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of money, Win had always been a hard worker. He’d actually earned the As he’d gotten in high school. He wasn’t the most talented player on the basketball team, but he ran until he puked and was the first man off the bench. So he called his dad from a hotel in Switzerland and said he was pretty much read yto wrap things up. He was going to come home and intern at the hedge fund until he started school in the fall. But first, he wanted to take a solo backpacking trip in the Wind River Range. Fifteen days of just him and his pack, a little something to clear his head.And it had worked. As he hiked, he could feel the residues ofbooze and pot clearing out through his pores. By the third day, he felt fresh and sharp again, and by the fifth day, he was climbing some easy lines. His dad had made him promise not to rock climb solo, but Win didn’t think it was much of a risk. Fifty-sixty-footclimbs with ledges and handholds like ladder rungs. Just enough to get his heart rate up a little. On the last day, he woke up at the same time as the sun. That was the devil’s bargain of sleeping in a tent. He laid still for a momen twith his eyes closed, hoping for a little more sleep, taking a few deep breaths, and that’s when he felt the tickling sensation. He opened his eyes and it loomed. He couldn’t help himself. He let out a scream and swatted the spider off his cheek. It moved quickly, scuttling away from him, into the corner of the tent. Wing rabbed one of his hiking boots and smashed the living shit out ofthe spider. Even now, with ten miles of trail behind him and maybe five more minutes to the trailhead and his truck, Win gave an involuntary shudder at the thought. He really wanted to believe he wasn’t afraid of spiders. But this one had been so close. On his face. Blech. Win had originally considered chartering a jet so he could fly in close to Lander, but in the end it had actually been easier to fly to Denver, even with the almost six-hour drive. All he’d had to do ahead of time was call the American Express concierge service. As a Black Card member, he’d arranged to have somebody meet him at the gate and take him right to a Toyota Land Cruiser, Win’s age of nineteen be damned. When he got to the trailhead and his rental truck, Win dropped his pack to the ground. It was a hell of a lot lighter after fifteen days on the trail. He’d eaten all his food, for one, and for another, he was simply used to the weight. Still, it felt good to get it off his back. He fished the key out of the inside flap pocket and opened the trunk. He pulled out his cellphone and turned it on. While he was waiting for it to power up,he rooted through his other gear to see if he had any good snacks. He was starving. He struck out on the snacks, and he struck out on the cell phone: his battery had held its charge, but there was no signal up where he was parked. He sighed, threw his phoneback into his bag, and then lifted his backpack into the trunk. Screw it.Barely an hour later, just past two in the afternoon, he cruised into downtown Lander, Wyoming. The idea of calling it a downtown was a bit of a joke. The population was maybe six, seven thousand people. But the place did have something he really wanted: hamburgers and onion rings. He passed the Lander Bar and Gannet Grill, looking for a parking spot, and found one a block away. It was one of those rites of passage if you backpacked in the Wind River Range. Come back to town and stuff yourself full of fried food at the bar and grill. Maybe, after, he’d even get an ice cream. He half thought of grabbing a hotel room, but he liked the idea of hitting Denver tonight better, taking a suite at the Four Seasons and calling up a redheaded girl he’d met in Thailand who had been taking off part of her junior year of college. He could put down a couple thousand calories, hit the road by three, be out of the shower by ten, and be getting laid by midnight. That sounded a lot better than staying at some paper thin–walled motel in Lander.He got out of the truck and paused for a second. He knew he should dig his phone out of his pack now that he could get a signal, but he decided it could wait. His dad didn’t actually expect him off the trail for a couple more days. He could call him from the road. He’d call the redhead, too. And get the concierge at the Four Seasons to book his room, make sure there was champagne for her if she wanted—he liked how clear he felt right now, and was done with booze for a while—plus some fresh fruit, and a box of condoms tucked away in the bedside drawer. If the redhead wasn’t feeling as frisky as she’d been in Thailand, that was okay, too. She was smart and funny, and it wouldn’t be bad just to cuddle up onthe bed and watch a cheesy movie.He started for the bar but then stopped. What the heck? The store across the street was a fire-gutted shell. The sign was blackened and he could just make out the letters:THE GOOD PLACE. HUNTING. FISHING. CAMPING. GUNS. He’d bought most of his gear there before he’d headed out on the trail. Barely fifteen days earlier it had been a thriving outfitter store, but now it was empty. A ruin. No boards on the windows, no tape around it to keep people away. He looked up and down the street and saw it wasn’t just The Good Place.He hadn’t been paying attention as he’d driven in, too focused on the idea of a good old American gut-busting burger, but Lander looked messed up. He knew The Good Place hadn’t been like that when he’d hit the trail, but he couldn’t remember if the rest of the town had been so similarly beat down. It was hard for him to imagine that Lander had a thriving business community, but still, this was weird. Empty store fronts were one thing, but these places were actively destroyed. A few stores down from where he’d parked, a pickup truck was lodged halfway through the front wall of a liquor store. It was a mess. Really, all of Lander seemed like a disaster zone. It looked like a college town after they’d won—or lost—some sort of championship. White kids rioting. But this wasn’t a college town, so maybe . . .He let out a chuckle. Maybe the zombie apocalypse had finally arrived while he was out in the wild. He had been gone just a hair past two weeks. Long enough. He’d been in the mountains all alone with no cell phone and no way to check in with the modern world. Who knew what could have happened, but zombies would be awesome. Still, it was pretty quiet out where he was standing. A few blocks down he saw a pickup truck move slowly throughan intersection, but he was the only person on the street. The smell of smoke hung heavy in the air. Melted plastic and charred wood. He tried to remember the last time he’d seen the vapor trail of an airplane overhead, and he realized that he wasn’t sure if he’d seen a plane above him even once while he was hiking. September 11, 2001, wasn’t part of his memory, but he’d heard his dad talk about how weird it had been to see a sky clear of air traffic. He glanced up. Blue sky with a few clouds. Another stunning day in Wyoming.Ah, whatever. It was too beautiful out to worry. Zombie apocalypse or not, he needed some bar food after fifteen days of freeze-dried chili mac and trail mix. He was ready for a basketful of fat and salt.He hit the lock button on his key and walked to the bar and grill. Whatever qualms he had disappeared as he got to the door. He could smell something grilling and the familiar odor of a deep fryer. Oh man. A cheeseburger and onion rings, chicken wings drowning in hot sauce served with a side of blue cheese for dipping. A couple of cold Cokes so full of ice it would make his teeth hurt even to take a sip. There was music playing and the bar sounded like it was hopping. It didn’t occur to him that a bar probably shouldn’t be that busy at two o’clock on a weekday untilhe was already through the door. The talk died as he entered, and Win stopped. It took a second for his eyes to adjust to the dim light of the bar. When they did, he realized that an extremely large, extremely fat man with long gray hair and a beard that ended mid-chest was pointing a shotgun at him. Whatever impulse Win had to make a little quip died a quick death with the sound of the shotgun being racked. That sound. Was there a scarier sound on earth than a shotgun being pumped?“Where did you come from?” the fat man asked.Win hesitated. Had he walked into the middle of a robbery? But wouldn’t the guy with the shotgun have locked the door or something? Or robbed a bank instead?While Win was thinking, the fat man took a couple of steps forward and bopped Win on the side of his face with the shotgun. It didn’t feel like a bop. It felt like maybe his cheekbone was broken, but Win thought of it as a bop, because that’s what it would have looked like in a movie. He pressed his hand to his cheek and felt a tear in his skin. Slick and sticky blood. He couldn’t stop himself from thinking that he’d just been bopped in the same spot he’d seen that damn spider perching when he woke up.“Jesus frickin’ Christ. What the hell?” Win had taken a shot like that, once, his sophomore year playing basketball, but it had been an errant elbow that left him with a broken nose and a black eye. Itwas clearly an accident. Hustle and vigor and athletic competition and all that, but even though the plastic surgeon had fixed his nose just fine, Winthrop Wentworth Sr. had been livid. Win’s dad had gone so far as to have his hedge fund take a controlling interest inthe bank where the kid’s dad worked just so he could fire the poor guy. “Nobody,” Win’s dad liked to say, “messes with the Wentworths. Somebody hits you, you hit them back so hard they don’t get up. You get in that habit, people stop hitting you.”Win’s dad said all sorts of shit like that, but then again, Win’s dad had grown up in Brooklyn back when Brooklyn didn’t have hipstersor neighborhoods with twelve-million-dollar brownstones. He’d gotten in plenty of fights as a kid, and maybe one or two as an adult. There was a story that might have just been a legend, or might have been true, of his dad sealing his first billion-dollar deal by putting another man’s head through the passenger window of a car. That wasn’t Win, though. So he just stood there with his hand on his cheek.The man had backed off, but the shotgun was pointed right at the middle of Win’s body. He said, “I’ll ask it again, and maybe you want to answer this time. Where’d you come from?”“Whoa, whoa,” Win said. “Wind River Range. I was backpacking. I got back to the trailhead maybe an hour ago.”He wanted to sound brave, but he knew he didn’t. He didn’t feel brave either. Having a shotgun pointed at him sucked away whatever courage he might have had.“How long were you out?”“Fifteen days.” Win risked a quick glance around the room. Nobody was moving to help him. If anything, he thought he saw a couple of other guns in evidence. “I just came in here to get a burger and a soda before I start my drive to Denver.”“You were out backpacking for fifteen days?”“Solo. Hit the trailhead an hour ago. I’ve been dreaming abou ta big hamburger and some onion rings.” Win probed a little bit at his cheek. He winced. He could feel something sharp under thes kin. Was it his cheekbone? Had this guy broken his cheekbone? So much for Denver and getting laid. He’d be headed straight to the hospital. Stitches at the least, maybe minor surgery.“Look, I’m sorry for whatever I stepped into here, but if you can just—”“Spiders?”“What?” Win’s hand was still on his cheek, but he couldn’t stop himself from grimacing. That spider that he’d squished on the floor of the tent.The man pulled the shotgun tight against his shoulder. Win didn’t like the way the man’s finger stayed on the trigger or how he’d started to squint down the barrel. “I said, did you see any spiders?”“Spiders?”“Are you deaf?” the man said. “Do you want another tap on the face? Did you see any spiders when you were out there?”“Yeah. One. There was a spider on my cheek when I woke up this morning. Right where you smashed me with your—”But Win never got to say the word shotgun. It had gone off before he’d had a chance to finish his sentence.

Editorial Reviews

“This installment retains much of the scary fun of the first. . . . Boone’s fans will undoubtedly enjoy this globe-hopping, seriously creepy read.” —Publishers Weekly“The mark of a good series for me is that I’m ready for the next book as soon as I finish the current one, and sometimes even before I’m finished. As soon as I finished the last page of Skitter, I hopped on Goodreads to see if book three had been listed yet. . . . [A] fun read, and a good, solid summer blockbuster. . . . Fans of The Hatching should enjoy it, and it left me wanting/demanding the third and final volume in this series immediately.” —Michael Patrick Hicks, author of Convergence and Emergence“Building on the success of The Hatching, Ezekiel Boone’s Skitter is scary-good fun that sets the stage for at least one more epic showdown between mankind and the terrifying eight-legged beasts hellbent on destroying them. If you’re not already reading this series, it’s time to start!” —The Real Book Spy   “Boone proves there’s nothing to the notion of a ‘sophomore slump’ if you’ve got a great writer and a kick-ass story. Skitter is just as much gruesome, GET-IT-OFF-ME fun as The Hatching was, but this time the stakes are even higher. . . . Sit back, dig in, and be prepared to read this in one sitting. It’s that good. Grade: A.” —Atomic Fangirl (blog)   “This series is captivating, engaging, and completely terrifying. . . . It was hard to resist, hard to put down, and one of those reads you both don’t want to read further because you are so bloody scared but also can’t even begin to have enough will power to resist. . . . I will never look at a simple house spider, or any spider, the same way again and I can’t wait for more!” —My Guilty Obsession (blog)PRAISE FOR THE HATCHING: “What Peter Benchley did for sharks, James Herbert did for rats and Michael Crichton did for dinosaurs, Ezekiel Boone does for those eight-legged freaks that lurk in dark corners of our houses. The Hatching is a full-throttle pulse-pounder that will keep you up all night feverishly flipping its pages—and make you check for webs spun under your bed before you reluctantly turn off the lights.” —Nick Cutter, author of The Troop and The Deep “The Hatching is old-school global plague horror of the freakiest sort. A deft and nasty thriller.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Damned and The Demonologist“Ezekiel Boone spins a terrifying yarn about the reawakening of a long-dormant race of predatory and carnivorous spiders in The Hatching.” —Quill & Quire