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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Martin Blaskett moves to a small town to oversee construction of a housing development, where he encounters a shape-shifting figure from local legend—Scratch. He is taken under the wing of his new neighbor, a retired hunting guide named Gil Rose, and befriends a local woman named Alison. Along the way, trouble ensues as Scratch feels threatened by changes to the landscape, ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Dark House Press
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  57 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Aug 13, 2014 marked it as my-publications  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote this, so I'm not going to rate it. There are lots of wild animals in it.
Recommended for: Nature lovers, readers of creepy, surreal, horror, or mysterious books, books perfect for October.

It’s difficult to review or even summarize this book without giving important plot points away, which I think means the book served its purpose well, so my review will be brief.

I am more and more proud of independent publishing the more I read, and this novel is no exception. Himmer does a lot with the legend of Scratch and expertly so, weaving magical realism, supernatural wildern
Kevin Fanning
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is about the feeling you get standing at the edge of a forest. The sense that there is something dark and magic and secret happening somewhere deep inside the trees. This book is about what happens when you step forward and cross the tree line to look for the dark and magic thing that is calling you, and about the things that secretly follow you back home when you leave.

Steve has always been the best at writing about the way we interact with nature, and what our attitude about our sur
Leah Bayer
Even when other animals lose their ability to plant fear in your hearts, when the howl of coyotes or the rumbling of bears makes your heart flutter with the nostalgia of ignorance, and you feel yourself drawn back to nature-as if you have ever been able to leave-the call-and-response of a pack in the hills sends you scampering back to your cars, onto the roads, out of the mountains toward home where you lock double-paned windows and pull down heavy shades and turn up the lights as bright as you ...more
Julianne (Outlandish Lit)
[Actually 3.5]

Scratch had just about everything I want in a book. A forest with more going on in it than we know? Check. Mysterious disappearances? Check. Weird animal stuff? Check. A formless shapeshifting narrator who puts our main character in harm's way for the sake of the story he wants to create? Ok, maybe I didn't explicitly want that, but I got it. Scratch's concept is pretty brilliant. A shapeshifter (named Scratch) has lived in a forest in the middle of nowhere since...forever, basical
Kate Racculia
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Adored this book--it's dark and strange, and beautifully written. Steve writes about wildness in all its lush, tactile wonder, and the myriad ways foolish mortals believe their lives are beyond nature's control.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely great! Not the usual horror/sci- fi fare and I loved it for that.

Don’t come to this book expecting lots of action. It is purposefully slow paced, expecting the reader to think deeply about nature, change and man’s purpose. It is much more of a character piece. The plot is simple and focussed.

It is extremely well written and I was drawn into the character of Martin, longing to see what would become of him. I also enjoyed the unique point of view the novel was written from and thought
Bentley ★
Jan 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc
I received a free copy of this from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Based on the premise, I should have loved this book. It's got dark forests, local legends surrounding a mysterious and deadly creature known only to locals as "Scratch" and a main character who becomes caught up in rapidly unfolding events that make him question his own sanity. Sounds great on paper, or at least in the four sentence plot summary that drew me to it. Unfortunately, it really falls apart in its e
Victor Giron
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Helen McClory
Eerie and assured, this novel kept me guessing right up until the end.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'll just be over here, trying to shed my coyote skin. Loved this.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Has a few decent one-liners, and the imagery is pretty amazing, the story started out strong with great characters and then the ending just kind of got derailed and trite. Still worth the read though.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good. If you like New England and the Woods and Mythology/Fantasy... this is for you.
May 24, 2016 marked it as to-read
* e-Arc provided by publisher via Edelweiss *
Tawna Dickens
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Mar 24, 2019
Sarah Grider
rated it it was ok
Mar 14, 2017
Dylan Keiffer
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Shelby Holbrook
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Jan 04, 2018
rated it it was ok
Dec 23, 2016
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Jan 12, 2017
Meghan Osment
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Apr 05, 2020
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2017
I don't know how to rate this. I had an incredibly difficult time getting through this although it's, like, only 200 pages. The plot and concept of the story were intriguing: Martin oversees the construction project of a couple of houses at the edge of a forest. In those woods, shapeshifters live. One in particular: SCRATCH. The people in town talk about him like one would recount the legend of the Boogeyman or Krampus. Or Bloody Mary. He is feared even though half of the people only grudgingly ...more
Kirsten LoAndBeHolt
rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2019
Michelle Bailat-Jones
rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2016
David Gutowski
rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2019
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Steve Himmer is the author of the novels The Bee-Loud Glade, Fram, and Scratch (coming 2016). His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Millions, Ploughshares online, Post Road, Los Angeles Review, Hobart, and other anthologies and journals. He edits the webjournal Necessary Fiction teaches at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. ...more

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