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The Skin Gods (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #2)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  1,986 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Richard Montanari'sThe Echo Man.

With the breakneck pacing and intricate plotting of his most recent novel, The Rosary Girls, Richard Montanari established himself as one of the most exciting suspense writers working today. Now he proves himself a virtuoso with The Skin Gods, an explosive new thriller featuring Philadelphia homic
Hardcover, 395 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Taste of Fire by Jeannie Faulkner BarberThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonHeavy Duty People by Iain ParkeThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Best Modern Mystery, Crime fiction
112th out of 689 books — 785 voters
Trueman Bradley - Aspie Detective by Alexei Maxim RussellOff the Grid by P.J. TracyShadow Man by Cody McFadyenThe Rosary Girls by Richard MontanariTwo Graves by Douglas Preston
Quirky crime-solvers
44th out of 52 books — 29 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 16, 2011 Katharina rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2011
Okay that's it, I'm 2/3s in and I just can't take it anymore. Montanari's writing is just BAD. I wasn't being catty when I said he writes like me at 16, he literally does! The over-descriptiveness, the weird awkward emo stuff that is meant to be deep... Actually, I think he's a lot WORSE than me at 16. The main female character has yet to have A SINGLE SCENE where she doesn't find some excuse to ponder how her life is basically over because she's now OVER 30 and thus practically dead. And just.. ...more
Mónica BQ
I read The Skin Gods entirely by chance a few years ago. It was one of those books that you pick up at the airport at random. This was pre-iPad era. At least for me.

I had really really liked it. I have no idea why I didn't try to look for more books by the author. Specially the first book in the series. And then it got lost in the massive quantity of books I intermittently drop at my parents house. Upon a recent cleaning, I found it and read it again.

Did not love it like I previously had. But I
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Most serial killers like to hide their work.....not so the Actor.
He is recreating and filming the death scenes from famous movies, and then splicing the scenes into rental videos.
Byrne is still recovering from being shot so Jessica has a new partner. But a woman from Byrne's past that he is forming a romantic attachment with, is abducted.
Are the two cases part of one?

I did not enjoy this book as much as I have the other Montanari's I read.
The book started with its usual shock factor (I think a
Jul 12, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had an intricate plot with several victims, several suspects, and many unknowns. I never figured out whodunit and was surprised when the author finally made the reveal. I like Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne, both individually and as partners. The book was somewhat slow in places and got bogged down in too much description. For me, this slows the action when the pace could be so much faster.
Meine Meinung:

Mefisto ist der zweite Teil um das Ermittlerduo Kevin Bryne und Jessica Balzano. Dieses Buch schließ fast nahtlos an den Vorgänger "Crucifix" an. Seit Kevin Bryne angeschossen wurde, um seine Parnterin Jessica zu retten sind ein paar Monate vergangen und er befindet sich in der Wiedereingliederung. Er und Jessica werden bald mit einem sehr brutalen Fall betreut, in dem ein Serienmörder berühmte Morde aus Filmen nachstellt, diese aufzeichnet und in diese in die Orginale einfügt und
Benjo Dalmacio-demition
At first, it was a hard to read book.. Lots of words and so many details. In fact, i have put this book down for 2-3 weeks. But as a bookworm as I am, i urged myself to finish it prior to starting a new one and to be honest, when you have gotten to the 2/3rds of this book, the pacing becomes more exciting and a bit faster. Which one is better? I would vote for the first book.
Eve Nolon
Second time reading and I really liked it this time around. I'd completely forgotten who the Actor turned out to be so it was a nice surprise. I love this series to death and even though I am disenchanted with where the new books are headed, I still hope Montanari continues to write Kevin and Jessica for years to come.
Barbara ★
Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano catch a serial killer case that revolves around the movie industry. The many old-movie references get tedious and annoying after a while. The killings are gruesome and somehow spiced into actual VHS tapes and placed on video store shelves. The mystery is extremely complex with multiple suspicious characters and storylines. The bad guy was a complete shock to me. This revelation came completely out of left field and was very surprising.

I found the begin
Aug 31, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
The second book in Richard Montanari's "Byrne & Balzano" series, "The Skin Gods", is a solid and action packed mystery thriller. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica are back with another set of grisly murders. Byrne is hit for a loop when ravaged with cancer dying cop Phil Kessler, accuses Byrne's recently deceased former partner Jimmy of planting evidence in a brutal crime. This leads to serial killer, and one really nasty guy named Julian Matisse being sprung from prison. for Byrne the manh ...more
Jen Suguitan
May 20, 2014 Jen Suguitan rated it liked it
A series of thriller movies had been spliced up and replaced with actual murders. Dubbed as The Actor, the serial killer seemed as if he's picking up his victims randomly. Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrned must find out the connection between the murders and find the true identity of the killer before his killing spree takes a chilling turn.

The Skin Gods is the second installment of Richard Montanari's Balazano and Byrne Series and just like in The Rosary Girls, Montanari takes his rea
Jan 11, 2016 Karisa_Rahl rated it really liked it
Los protagonistas son Jessica y Kevin agentes del departamento de policía de la ciudad de Filadelfia, esta vez tienen que atrapar a un asesino al que denominan “El Actor” ya que basa sus asesinatos en escenas violentas de famosas películas de suspenso, las graba en los videocasetes respectivos de cada película y deja que los encuentren para que todo el mundo vea lo que el denomina arte, pero descubren que hay una relación entre todas las víctimas.

Me gusto un montón, te mantiene expectante y asié
Sezín Koehler
The premise behind this book, a serial killer murdering people like scenes in famous films, was interesting, however the story fizzled out by the end and got way too convoluted to maintain its tension. That said, it was very well-written and I certainly would read more of Montanari's work.
Kristin Scandora
Jul 20, 2015 Kristin Scandora rated it it was ok
Plot had a lot of potential because the idea of the murder movie recreations sound good, but the writing didn't deliver. Flat character that you forget easily and confuse because they don't resonate. The two mains are okay, but not great. Killer doesn't even interest and lacks any depth. The "reveal" felt like the author was just listing relationships and reasons this guy was the killer to justify rather than have a plot that made sense throughout the book. Seemed like it was written without the ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
I love the characters in this book although I think I preferred The Rosary Girls for storyline. In this novel, a killer re-creates famous death scenes from Psycho, Fatal Attraction and Scarface. Quite a bit of action, with a few "shock" moments.
Sian Wadey
I have read a number of Richard Montanari books, but as always, not in the right order. The Skin Gods is the second in the Balzano and Byrne series, and kicks off with a murder being spliced into a video tape of Psycho. Already this setup dates the book as nowadays this crime would be uploaded to YouTube and viral within minutes.
I enjoy both leads, especially when Balzano goes undercover, but for me, this novel was a bit too convoluted, a bit stretched out, with too many names to remember. It wa
Aug 22, 2014 Vicky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2k14-woo
Perhaps i was so impressed by the first one, that this second one did not impress me as much! For me it got abit too personal, and the crime didn't entice me as much as the first one did...
Carla Baptista
Apr 23, 2014 Carla Baptista rated it did not like it
This was my second book from Montanari. I like the first one, it was ok. But this one was terrible. One of the worst books ive ever read and its the last one. ...more
Mar 05, 2012 Esther rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
Wow....... totally TERRIFIC ! what can i say unless this book hooked me up.

i love the storyline. just like watching a thriller movie awhile i'm reading it.
Susan Leary
Jul 01, 2015 Susan Leary rated it it was amazing
OOOH...creepy. Great plot, great characters,a whodunnit that ambushed me. What more could a mystery buff wish for? The continuing detective characters are so likable and so human that one has no problem suspending their belief in their existence. This is my second work by Montinari and I have already ordered the third and fourth. That's how convinced I am in their continued appeal. They are grim and graphic, not for the faint of heart, but if you have the stomach for realism, have at it! I am pr ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
I picked up this book as I had nothing to read in between the Harry Hole books I have. And it was a fantastic read. I found Montanari's writing a bit of a mixture between Dan Brown, John Grisham and Lorenzo Carcaterra in so much that it was straight to the point, sharp, easy flowing and kept the reader interested.
The storyline itself was enthralling but felt that he could have given more clues as to who the Actor was. And when we did finally find out who the killer was, it was not really emphas
Jul 16, 2015 Frances rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lea
Recommended to Frances by: Barbara
After reading The Doll Maker, Montanari's current book, I was eager to read others. While it may not have the polish of The Doll Maker, this did not disappoint.
I really need to read The Rosary Girls, which is the first in the series of police offices Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano; but this was what I was able to get at the library.
As before, the story centers around a serial killer who is copying scenes from movies, killings that take place in bathtubs. It is certainly not for the squeamish; b
Jul 16, 2014 Kathy rated it liked it
Confusing cast of characters.
It amazes me how quickly some authors – Montanari included – shape up their story-telling ability between first and second-in-a-series novels. Not that there was anything overtly wrong with The Rosary Girls, but if I hadn’t already bought The Skin Gods, I might have quickly forgotten my urge to try another, and the author would have fallen by the wayside of my reading journey.

In the Skin Gods, broken but still-in-the-game Detective Kevin Byrne and his partner Jessica Balzano discover that the s
Wayne Simmons
Dec 28, 2012 Wayne Simmons rated it it was amazing
The blurb:

The streets of Philadelphia are blistering in the summer heat, the homicide rate is soaring and the nights belong to the mad. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are prowling the streets with a growing sense of unease. Where next will evil rear its ugly head?

When a series of seemingly unrelated crimes shatter the restless silence of the city, their worst fears are confirmed. A beautiful secretary is slashed to death in a grimy motel shower. A street hustler brutally murdered wit
Vince Liaguno
Aug 28, 2010 Vince Liaguno rated it really liked it
In his follow-up to the bestselling The Rosary Girls, Richard Montanari returns with The Skin Gods, a edge-of-your-seat page-turner that blends police procedure with pop culture in an ingeniously plotted, high-speed serial killer suspense thriller.

Montanari excels in creating a plot that’s at once intricate and complicated, but never so much so that the reader loses interest or becomes frustrated. Subplots abound, and if one enjoys their narratives layered and complex, The Skin Gods is your poi
John The
Apr 09, 2016 John The rated it really liked it
The second in the series of the Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne series which once again involves the daughters and families of the cop partners. Byrne is recovering from injuries incurred in the first book, The Rosary Girls, but still gets involved in the chase of another mass murderer who is recreating the murders from famous movies, videoing them and editing his own murders into rented video tapes before returning them to the store.
The book follows the hunt for the killer, dubbed the Actor,
Cypress Ruby
Jun 22, 2015 Cypress Ruby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller, dastan
Wow, i did not expect that. I think I've found new good thriller author from now on. Just one thing though, there are waaaaay too many characters in this book, but for key characters, they had strong personality and easy to remember. I still like John Connolly's Charlie Parker's series though for troubled, dark, and deep detective gone rough rather than Kevin Bryne here, but i wont complain. The plot, the twist, the mystery. Everything combined perfectly. Nicely done.
Jay Jessmer
Aug 25, 2012 Jay Jessmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally grooving on the Byrne/Balzano books!! This was my favorite so far. The pacing was non-stop, there were just enough twists to keep yoou guessing and the "Byrne on the edge" thing is just awesome. He obviously over-steps the boundaries of what a cop can actually do, but come on, this is FICTION, right? With him, we get to indulge a little in, right or wrong, how many of us would like to see violent criminals who clog up our court system and burn tax-payers monet taken care of.
I love the
Jul 05, 2014 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
A really great idea for a storyline - a killer recreating famous murder scenes from movies and recording them, then splicing them into video rentals for the public to find. Yes a great idea but unfortunately I thought the writing fell a bit flat and didn't have the "oomph" needed. Then there seemed to be endless characters being brought into the book which was annoying. I won't be bothering to read the rest of the series I'm afraid.
Mar 23, 2016 Azuree rated it really liked it
Byrne and his partner Balzano are back in another thriller just as good as the first. This time someone is recreating death scenes from different murders and burning them over existing movies to be re-rented by other unsuspecting customers. Definitely a thrill ride from beginning to end and I was glad to see Byrne had his life a little more together. I'll definitely be reading book three when it comes out.
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Richard Montanari is the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rosary Girls, The Killing Room, The Stolen Ones and the upcoming thriller, The Doll Maker.

* Jack Paris
* Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne
More about Richard Montanari...

Other Books in the Series

Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne (8 books)
  • The Rosary Girls (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #1)
  • Merciless (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #3)
  • Play Dead (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #4)
  • The Echo Man (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #5)
  • The Killing Room (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #6)
  • The Stolen Ones (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #7)
  • The Doll Maker (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #8)

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