Skeleton Creek – Patrick Carman


Bit of a thrill junkie? Then you’re going to love this one. I suggest you hold on to your seats, folks, because you’re in for one hell of a ride. Skeleton Creek is an anomaly. And a very, very good one at that! Patrick Carman calls it “cross platform storytelling” because it incorporates both the traditional use of text, as well as video footage to tell the story.

A terrible accident occurs one night when Ryan and Sarah are messing around at the local closed down dredge. In the darkness, Ryan falls over – or maybe someone pushes him *gasp* you’ll have to read it yourself to find out – and he tumbles through the support barrier, knocking him unconscious and shattering his leg. He winds up in the hospital, and both Ryan and Sarah’s parents forbid them from seeing each other anymore.

On the night of the accident, Sarah had her video camera and caught the whole thing on tape. When she watches it back, something shows up on the tape that has her bones rattling inside her body. She secretly sends the video to Ryan, who is equally freaked by the image on the tape, and the two start an investigation behind their parents’ backs.

You wont believe what they uncover …

Ryan’s part of the story is delivered via his journal. While he’s cooped up in bed recovering from his fall, writing absolutely everything down is the only thing that stops him from going insane. Sarah’s part is delivered entirely through video. She blogs messages to Ryan, and she also uses her camera to document her investigative findings.

The video sections make Skeleton Creek. It would still be a great story without them, but they add a new level of interaction with the characters that you just don’t get from ordinary books. Although most of the information is delivered through Ryan’s journal, several key pieces come from Sarah’s footage. I found myself reading as fast as I could in order to get to the next password quicker (videos are posted on a website and the passwords given in the text are required to access them). The pieces of the footage taken at the dredge are actually really creepy, and they give the story authenticity. The whole thing has a real Blair Witch feel about it, but in its own unique (and supremely good) way. The last scene (delivered by video) had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and as the picture on screen faded into blackness I clapped both of my hands over my mouth to muffle my scream. There was no part of me – not even a tiny subconscious part – that saw that one coming. It’s definitely a strong contender for the Best Cliffhanger of 2009 award.

Oh why must you torture us so, Patrick? WHY, WHY, WHY?

The good news is, though, that the sequel is out in the summer of 2009 (the American summer, that is), so interested parties wont have to wait too long.

Skeleton Creek is not suitable for those with heart conditions as reading/viewing may cause hot flushes, and excess pounding of the myocardium. Other side effects include interrupted breathing patterns, sweaty palms, and nervous behaviours such as excessive foot tapping, nail biting and grinding of the teeth. If symptoms persist upon completion of reading, you can email Patrick at as I’m sure he’d love to hear all about it!

A fly by the seat of your pants read that will captivate both male and female audiences.

Available February 10, 2009


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