Title: Break the Skin
Author: Lee Martin
Publication Year: 2011
Source: sent by publisher
Date Completed: 6/25/2011
Setting: Illinois and Texas
Break the Skin is a novel of suspense about a group of lonely, small town people, each desperately seeking love and acceptance. The opening sets the tone for the novel, as nineteen year old Laney Volk is approached by two police officers, and wanted for questioning, while working at her job at Walmart. It isn't until much later that we learn the what and why. As the story unfolds the reader travels from small town Mt Gilead, Illinois to Denton, Texas.
The characters in Illinois are nineteen year old, plain and ordinary, Laney, her friend and coworker Delilah, who is nearly twice her age , who is desperate for a good man to watch over her, and Rose, an odd duck, who was known to cast spells. Rose called the group "sisters of the lonely hearts". The three had lived in Delilah's trailer together off and on, and worked together at Walmart, with Rose eventually getting fired.
" One of us was too big, but with a beautiful face. One of us was too slight and boyish. One of us, the one closer to "just right", too rough and hard. Yet all of us were needful and deserving of romance as any woman, no matter how beautiful, how average or how plain."As the story moves to Texas more characters are introduced: Miss Baby, (aka Betty Ruiz) owner of Baby Hearts Tats, Lester Tweet (aka Donnie True), a war Vet with PTSD and amnesia, Pablo, Miss Baby's brother, and Slam Dent. As the lives of these individuals converge, the mystery about what happened between these lonely and desperate people begins to unravel bit by bit.
The story is told in the first person, and the author expertly weaves a tale of desperate, lonely people whose lives quickly spin out of control. His description of small time life, it's lack of choices many people have, and dead end lifestyle which can result seem convincing and tragic. If you enjoy a good thriller, this novel is certainly worth a try. I also enjoyed this author's earlier book (2005), The Bright Forever.