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Under the Skin: A Novel
James Rudolph Youngblood, aka Jimmy the Kid, is an enforcer, a "ghost rider" for the Maceo brothers, Rosario and Sam, rulers of "the Free State of Galveston," who are 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, ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books
(first published 2003)
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If this site had half stars I'd give Under the Skin a solid 3 1/2...it's not as tightly woven or as emotionally charged as other Blake works I've read, and frankly I felt that a few of the situations were resolved awfully conveniently, but even so anything by Blake is better than most of what's currently available on the market. This one focuses on a guy who's the main hired muscle for a pair of gangsters in 1936 Galveston, and it's great fun just reading about the past of an area I'm fairly fam ...more
I enjoyed it more than the other book I have read by Blake, Wildwood Boys, but had similar issues with both. It seems with both books hat the author wants us to sympathize with the main character, who is a killer. I resent being pulled in that direction, but it bothered me less in this book--perhaps because I found the character's back story a bit more appealing. And in this book, unlike Wildwood, the character lives to tell the tale. He doesn't really deserve to.
Was worried that the narrator (who, it's important to point out, is an unstoppable killing machine) was going to become uninteresting very quickly, but I did enjoy his back story. Like the Handsome Harry book, this was more of a 3.5 than just a 3, but I think I'm anxious to check out more of Blake's novels that are set during the 19th century. Kinda over the 1930s gangsterism thing.
James Carlos Blake is by far one of my favorite authors. Under the Skin is a good story but not his best. If you are not familiar with his novels, I would first read "Pistoleer" or "Red River Grass" first. As an avid fan, I enjoyed this book!
James Carlos Blake is one of the America's most highly regarded living authors of historical crime fiction. Born in Mexico, his family moved regularly when he was a child, living in various towns along the border and coast before finally settling in Texas when he was six. After a stint in the army, Blake attended the University of South Florida and received a Master's degree from Bowling Green Sta ...moreMore about James Carlos Blake...