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Under the skin : a novel

by Blake, James Carlos.

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Pleasant Hills Public Library Adult Fiction Fic Bla
Location  Pleasant Hills Public Library
 
Collection  Adult Fiction
 
Call Number  Fic Bla
 
 
Summary

With his previous book, A World of Thieves, acclaimed historical novelist James Carlos Blake made a smashing debut in crime fiction with a thrilling tale of armed robbers and desperate lovers in late 1920s Louisiana and Texas.

Now, in Under the Skin, he presents an underworld saga with historical roots on both sides of the Rio Grande. While much of the story takes place in Galveston, Texas, during the first few days of 1936, its real beginning is in an El Paso brothel twenty-two years earlier, and the path it follows to its stunning conclusion in the Mexican desert is as inexorable as fate.

James Rudolph Youngblood, a.k.a. Jimmy the Kid, is an enforcer, a "Ghost Rider" for the Maceo brothers, Rosario and Sam, rulers of "the Free State of Galveston," the most wide-open town in America, prospering through illicit pleasures in the midst of the Great Depression. Raised on an isolated West Texas ranch that he was forced to flee at age eighteen following the violent breakup of his foster family, Jimmy has found a home and a profession in Galveston -- and a mentor in Rose Maceo. The town's bohemian character suits his own, and his natural talent with a gun is in keeping with his true father's legendary and violent proficiencies.

The specter of this fearsome father looms over Jimmy's story like an ancient curse. Their ties of blood, evident since Jimmy's boyhood, have drawn tighter over time. Then a strange and beautiful girl enters his life and a swift and terrifying sequence of events is set in motion. Jimmy must cross the border and go deep into the brutal and merciless country of his ancestors -- where the story's harrowing climax closes a circle of destiny long years in the making.

Populated with an enthralling cast of characters, smoky with sex, prickly in its humor, and unflinching in its violence, Under the Skin both wrestles and dances with some of the darkest mysteries of the human heart.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Blake's gritty tales of the modern West (In the Rogue Blood; Wildwood Boys) have won him critical praise, a cult following and comparisons to Cormac McCarthy, but he has yet to attract a wide literary audience. Despite its gripping premise, his latest effort is unlikely to break him out. Narrator James ("Jimmy the Kid") Youngblood takes readers into the dark criminal underworld of Depression-era Texas, specifically the Free State of Galveston. Offspring of a Mexican revolutionary and a beautiful Anglo prostitute, Jimmy becomes the chief gunsel for the Maceo brothers, barbers turned mob bosses who run the city's graft and gambling enterprises. The plot ostensibly focuses on the conflict between the Maceos and a Dallas-based mob that has tried to encroach on the brothers' territory, but a subplot involving Jimmy's budding love affair with the young wife of a Mexican warlord soon overshadows the gang wars and carries the novel to an explosive climax in the Mexican desert. The historical detail is deftly deployed, and the portrait of 1930s Galveston alone makes the book worthwhile for fans of the modern western. However, the novel is hampered by trite dialogue and a thin plot that is only partially shored up by a 40-page flashback revealing Jimmy's checkered past. Supporting characters, even his chief love interest, seldom come off the page. Most of all, Blake doesn't quite succeed in making the ruthless Jimmy-a tough guy's tough guy who easily rationalizes murder and cruelty-into a three-dimensional, fully human character. The novel is still a good read, and Blake fans will find this a worthy addition to his growing canon-but one feels that Blake has a much stronger novel inside him. (Feb. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Galveston (Tex.) -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :William Morrow,2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 292 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 0380977516
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