Saturday, July 2, 2011

Break the Skin; Lee Martin

Title:  Break the Skin
Author: Lee Martin
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Crown
Edition: Hardcover
Source: sent by publisher
Date Completed: 6/25/2011 
Setting: Illinois and Texas
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

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.


  1. Sounds intriguing. That cover is a bit alarming!

  2. I had come across this book on Goodreads. It sounds great! I enjoy a good suspense novel with a depth, which this book seems to be. Thanks for the review!

  3. That does sound really good! Small towns can be oppressive - they seem ideal to grow up in, but kids often have to leave them to make a living.

  4. Based on the cover I wasn't too sure, but it actually sounds pretty good!

  5. I like the sound of this - thanks for sharing! Adding it to my TBR list

  6. Definitely sounds like one to add to the list, interesting characters and intriguing plot.

  7. This sounds like a very worthwhile book about lives of quiet dispair

  8. I'm always looking for recommendations for a good thriller! I like the small town setting and the focus on a host of characters. I'm definitely intrigued! Thanks Diane :o)

  9. I love the quote you included. I'll have to look for this one.


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