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

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,514 ratings  ·  106 reviews
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 homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.

It is the steaming heart of su
Published August 3rd 2006 by William Heinemann Ltd (first published January 1st 2006)
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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
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
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
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
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.
Esther Fanny
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
ich glaube mit der Zeit werde ich immer pingeliger bei Thrillern. vielleicht liegt das daran dass ich schon so viele gelesen habe. Von der Grundidee ist dieses Buch durchaus interessant.
Es geschehen Morde die den Mordszenen aus berühmten Filmen nachempfunden sind. Diese tauchen dann auf Videokassetten auf. Hierbei wu
die Szenen in den Filmen von den echten Morden überspielt. Es geht viel um Filme und die Filmbranche allgemein. Dennoch wirkte mir die Handlung doch sehr oft zu konstruiert und überz
Cynthia Soh
Never able to guess who the Actor is, loves how the story unfolds itself, albeit a slow gradual buildup. But have always liked Richard Montanari's books. Following the first book (The Rosary Girls) I've read, this is the second. Love the intensity. But this book is really slow and confusing at times. How characters and chapters weaves in and out suddenly. I prefer The Rosary writing style.
As thrillers go, this was a decent one. The book held my interest, and i was eager to read the solution to the mystery. The two lead characters had good backstories, and they were likable enough to allow me to care what happened to them. the author creates an almost airtight case for one person being the murderer, then the book takes a left turn and it someone completely different. It was a little jarring, but I like the fact that the mystery was complex and not easily solved.

The only reason I'm
Kenneth L. Arsham,M.D.
great story except for the villain

I have read the first two of the Byrne and Balzano books. I have enjoyed them both and plan to read more of the series. The main characters are engaging and the reader wants more. The problems are the villains who come out of the blue....normal by day and psycho by night.
Belinda Elizondo
Good author to follow the John Sanford series. Based in Philadelphia, the reader gets familiar with 2 detectives whose lives we follow. Could use some light moments, but the author succeeds in keeping the reader's attention. One learns to really care about the characters. Enjoying the series so far.
The site ate a longish review before I could post so am not going to the effort to repeat. Didn't like THE SKIN GODS as well as Montanari's first Byrne/Balzano book THE ROSARY GIRLS but will stick with the series since I've bought books three and four. He's a good writer but there's an irritating plot device involving killers completing complicated tableaus before murdering victims that I hope does not continue in all the books - just not realistic enough. The strongest point of the series is th ...more
Martta HP
If you enjoy your crime fiction with a good dose of preachiness and moralizing, this is the series for you. I'm guessing the next book will be about the Evils of Abortion.

Oh, and the tacked-on supernatural powers of one of the main characters. That was there too.
Brian Krause
Not as good as The Rosary Girls but still well-written and a good sophomoric effort after the debut. Byrne and Balzano do not disappoint. The murders were interesting and once again, I didn't know whodunit until almost the end, even before he was revealed. I like this writer and I like this series.
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
A page-turner, but basically junk food in book form. Serviceable writing, fairly satisfying conclusion, but no lasting resonance. Filled with a veritable school of red herrings, which still didn't keep me from guessing the murderer the moment he was introduced. The literary equivalent of an episode of L&O:SVU.
This isn't a standalone book. It's the second book in the Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne detective series. The first book is Rosary Girls. I think this is a very good continuation of the series. They are dealing with a serial killer called "The Actor." He is recreating the killing scenes from different movies and taping them onto video rental stores copies. There are a lot of different backstories going on that answer some of the questions from the first book along with starting some for the ne ...more
It was an ok book. The concept was good. I didn't realize this was a sequel book until I had started reading it. There was too many view points up try & keep up with though. A couple of things in the book could have been left out & it wouldn't hurt the story at all.
Tim Warner
Wow. This is , and I hate to confess it but, the kind of thriller I have been looking for. It's very dark and displays unrepentant evil. That's why I hate to confess how gripped I was. The redeeming factor is the heart of the detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano. But this is hard core, and I don't mean in the erotic sense, but in the gritty reality of good vs evil. Montanari is the kind of writer who is in top-notch form. If you want to read something you really can't put down, nor figure ...more
Johann Coetzer
Not to good of a book, the start is quite good, then it is all downhill from there. The writing is mediocre at best, very generic and as a reader just could not immerse my self in the book and characters so in the end I give 2.5/5
Kevin Byrne and his partner Jessica Balzano, homicide detectives in the Philadelphia Police Department catch gruesome murder of a young girl that has been filmed and inserted in an old “Psycho” movie that has them baffled. There is little forensic evidence when they finally locate the scene of the murder. Kevin is coming off medical leave after catching a bullet and is only allowed limited work but as the case evolves he begins pushing his recovery to get the killer. When more “Inserts” of murde ...more
Meg Listwan
Another great one

The second book in the Byrne/Balzano series. I couldn't put this book down! Kept me guessing til the end! Another great one by Montanari!
Such a good writer! I like both Jessica and Kevin and their partnership.

Rather a grim story of death and perversion centred around the movie industry. A good concept and well executed.
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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
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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
  • 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
The Rosary Girls (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #1) Merciless (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #3) Play Dead The Echo Man (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #5) The Killing Room (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #6)

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