Cover image for Skin : the X-files
Skin : the X-files
Mezrich, Ben, 1969-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperEntertainment, [1999]

Physical Description:
261 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A novel based on the hit television series created by Chris Carter

It's a fairly common, if ghoulish, procedure: the "harvesting" of skin from corpses for temporary use on emergency burn victims until their own grafts are ready. But when a team of moonlighting medical students accidentally takes skin from the wrong donor, the results are catastrophic: a New York City hospital ward is destroyed in a psychotic bloodbath, and an elderly professor, admitted for a routine skin graft, is suddenly the city's most wanted fugitive.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are the only ones to suspect something more ominous than a medical procedure gone awry. As the FBI agents investigating the "X-Files"--strange and inexplicable cases the Bureau wants to keep hidden, Mulder and Scully are determined to track down the forces they suspect are behind the murderer.

While the police hunt the fleeing professor, Mulder and Scully track the skin that was mistakenly grafted onto him. The trail leads from the morgue to the headquarters of a cutting-edge biotech company. Soon Mulder and Scully are in Thailand, searching the jungles for an abandoned MASH Unit, where napalm victims were treated with an amazing recovery rate--even though none of the hundreds of men who were nursed back to health ever returned to their families.

Scully is looking for an experimental medical technology with disastrous side effects. Mulder suspects the stakes are even higher, a fear gruesomely confirmed as they begin to uncover an unholy and totally deniable alliance between a battle-trained plastic surgeon, international politicians, and a legendary Thai monster known as the "Skin-Eater."

Author Notes

Ben Mezrich was born in 1969 and received a degree in social studies from Harvard University in 1991. He originally wrote fiction, occasionally under the pseudonym Holden Scott, before switching to nonfiction.

His nonfiction works include Ugly Americans, Busting Vegas, Rigged, and Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History. Two of his books were made into films. In 2008, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions was made into the film 21 and in 2010, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal was made into the film Social Network.

He appeared on Court TV in the series High Stakes with Ben Mezrich and has hosted the World Series of Blackjack.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Public appetite for FBI agents Mulder and Scully--he of the intense belief in the paranormal, she of the steely skepticism--remains undiminished after five seasons of The X-Files. Mezrich has four official guides, three postcard books, the official map and desk diary and wall calender, and five previous novels based on the series under his belt. Who better to spin a yarn about a medical madman-genius who keeps savagely burned people alive as drones? Mezrich drives the story steadily forward, while reminding the reader of agent Mulder's sister's abduction and agent Scully's out-of-sight tattoo--references providing just the right frisson of recognition for compulsive fans. Mezrich satisfies all expectations of suspense, ghoulishness, and general creepiness any fan might have. A bit ham-handedly salacious about Scully's sex appeal--"She smelled vaguely of honeysuckle, and there were still flecks of shampoo caught in the lilting arcs of her hair" --Mezrich perhaps just doesn't imagine any of his readers being similarly interested in Scully's broodingly charming partner. --Patricia Monaghan

Publisher's Weekly Review

When a mild-mannered history professor goes on a bloody rampage after receiving a skin graft mistakenly harvested from the wrong cadaver, the violent episode draws FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully into another eerie X-Files investigation. Though the cadaver, a John Doe found at the scene of a multiple-car pileup, has mysteriously vanished from the morgue, traces of red powder from the accident site lead the agents to Fibrol, a biotech company founded by former MASH surgeon Emile Paladin, who specialized in treating napalm burn victims. Records indicate that Paladin died in a hiking accident in the mountains of Thailand 15 years ago, but word that Paladin's brother, Andrew, is still alive in Thailand sends Scully and Mulder across the Pacific to learn more. There they discover that Paladin was obsessed with creating the perfect synthetic skinÄand that his research coincided with the apparent reappearance of a horrific monster of local legend, Gin-Korng-Pew: the Skin Eater. Their penetration into the heart of the mystery uncovers a fiendish secret that will surprise no one. Though the story has plenty of the X-Files' usual matter-of-fact gore, there's little here to cause genuine shivers. Mezrich (Reaper) tells the tale largely from Mulder's point-of-view, but he and other characters are little more than animated clich‚sÄevidence that one needs more than a series of bizarre events to make a convincing X-file. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Mezrick was handpicked by X-Files creator Chris Carter to write this novel, which touches on the paranormal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.