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Literature / Skinjumper

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Skinjumper is a Black Comedy Horror novel by Lincoln Crisler and published by Ragnarok Publications.

It follows Rose Bennett, a young, recently-widowed mother, comes face to face with a newly-minted murderer and learns that there are much scarier things than raising a child alone in an unfamiliar town. Terry Miller has discovered three things in a very short amount of time: his high school sweetheart's been cheating on him with his father, killing is fun, and if he does it just right, he can switch bodies with his victims. The book follows Terry as he finds himself in increasingly absurd situations and becomes fixated on destroying Rose.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • Asshole Victim: Henry sleeps with his son's girlfriend behind his back and tries to justify it to his face (when his son is covered in her blood). He shows no real concern about the fact his son just murdered his mistress. Really, Terry killing him is the most understandable thing in the book.
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  • Autoerotic Asphyxiation: One of the more random encounters in the book is a woman asking Terry to engage in this during sex.
  • Black Comedy: The entire book is one long series of events resulting from giving the ability to leap bodies (through murder) to a self-entitled man-child. The fact Terry is a MORON only worsens the situation.
  • Crapsack World: Everyone is a complete asshole in this book with the exception of Rose and a few victims.
  • Downer Ending: Terry successfully possesses a new body and is implied to murder Rose soon after. Alex has started seriously practicing the black magic he half-assed before.
  • Evil Feels Good: Terry's reaction to killing.
  • For Want of a Nail: The entire plot is kicked off because of an incredibly bizarre series of circumstances, up to and including necromancy to resurrect a friend's dog. Any number of unlikely events being stopped would have the plot turn out far different.
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  • Grand Theft Me: Terry's ability due to a failed necromancy ritual.
  • Hate Sink: Played with. Terry might have had some redeeming features before the ritual but they go out the window rapidly.
    • Alex is, possibly, even worse.
  • Kick the Dog: A near-literal example. Terry murders a dog in the beginning of the book. This is so he can resurrect another dog through necromancy. Yes, I'm serious.
  • Mama Bear: Rose does not take threatening her child well.
  • Nice Girl: Rose is, hands down, the most pleasant person in the book.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Terry is a moron. A truly stupid criminal. However, that just makes him MORE dangerous.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Terry leaves this behind in all of his crimes. Sometimes, because he's trying to. Mostly, because he's a really stupid criminal.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Alex and Terry are very causally huge misogynists.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Terry has the emotional maturity of a fourteen-year-old and his reaction to the discovery of his body-hopping ability is that he likes it—even if it means killing people. ESPECIALLY if it means killing people.
  • Rape as Drama: Rose is afraid this might happen to her. Alex tries to do so to Terry when he's in a female body.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Terry would have gotten away with it if not for the fact he decided to go after Rose. What did Rose do? Had the audacity to witness him disposing of his girlfriend's body (plus his old one—long story).
  • Romancing the Widow: Jason is irresitably drawn to Rose, who lost her husband in the War on Terror.
  • Sanity Slippage: It's implied body-jumping does this. Terry actually seems to start coming out of it the longer he's in any individual body, then backslides immediately once he switches to a new one.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Not quite since Terry's mother is still alive but one of the first things he does in the book is kill his father (for semi-understandable reasons).
  • Serial Killer: Terry rapidly becomes one of these in order to get the hang of his murder-based possession powers.
  • Suburbia: The setting for much of the book.
  • Villain Protagonist: Terry gets the vast majority of page-time and perspective in the book.
  • The Villain Wins: Alex goes to jail but this just gives him a chance to learn how to properly speak Latin and study magic. Terry manages to get the body of Rose's protector.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Alex is a Satanist and necromancer who does petty magic in his backyard like raising dead dogs.