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Skin in the Game

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  50 reviews


When Joe Hawkins left the US State Department, he left international intrigue behind and took a prestigious position as a professor at Oxford University. His younger brother’s disappearance upends his tranquil academic life and plunges him into a world where covert government intelligence
Paperback, 482 pages
Published January 30th 2015 by Delta Stream Books
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3.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  271 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skin in the Game by Thomas Byrne

Joe Hawkins is a former US State department employee and now an Oxford University Professor. When his younger brother Sam disappears Joe decides to look for him. While searching for Sam he discovers that his brother was involved with a shady London based investment firm. Not only that, but there is international corruption going on as well. Joe's life is in danger, but he won't stop until he finds his brother.

Kate Farrow an MI6 psychiatrist, is trying to help rega
Jul 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I like a good conspiracy story as much as the next guy. Having said that, I found myself skimming much of this novel. Too much political and economic blah, blah, blah. Isn't the first rule of good writing, "show, don't tell"? Add to that pages of flowery psychological clap trap and you've got a book that needed a good editor. Don't waste your time, even if the book is free on Amazon. Your time is worth something.
David Highton
Mar 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only made it 40% through this one - overly complex plot, sections of superficial analysis, just did not convince me
Feb 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Firstly, let me lay my cards on the table so to speak. As a rule I am deeply suspicious of self-publishing. I think that traditional publishers are there for a reason: to ensure that the books that reach the reading public are the best that they can be. Unfortunately, with the rise of digital platforms like Kindle, a lot of people are circumnavigating this process and sub-standard works are appearing. If I had known that Skin in the Game was self-published I would never have downloaded it. My mi ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: author-r4r, mystery
*Received this book from the author for an honest review*
2.5 stars
I'm not one to summarize a book in my reviews....don't understand the need when so many others do :)
Knowing that this was a self published book and given to me by the author, I so wanted to love this book. It sounded like it had all the intrigue and mystery I like in a book. There are some high points and moments of suspense, but the biggest downfall to me was how long it took to be able to start connecting the dots. Too many char
Elizabeth Turner
With insight reminiscent of Dan Brown, Byrne peels back the curtain in this riveting ride. Like secrets from Skull and Bones we glimpse players behind a cloaked World Order. Combining a cacophony of intrigue, high finance, political discord, terrorism and psychology, the reader can only be left wondering "what if". Byrnes characters encompass the totality of the human psyche, from good and evil to frailty and strength and all that lies between. Marrying character study with page turning tension, ...more
Cats of Ulthar March of Shoggoths
Review:  SKIN IN THE GAME by Tomas Byrne

If Kafka and Dostoevsky had teamed up to write a 21st century perspective on terrorism, torture, and global terror from a British perspective, the result might be SKIN IN THE GAME. Penned with expertise by a Canadian author who formerly was a London banker and lawyer, this complex thriller with deep philosophical and psychological undertones will astonish, entertain, educate, and elucidate readers. I predict it will also linger on in readers' memories.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
A political thriller that reflects many of today's headlines. There's political intrigue, treason, betrayal, arms trading, torture, and romance~now you see what I mean about today's headlines! There was a lot going on and it was difficult at times to keep track of the action and the characters. I received an electronic copy of this book by the author for an honest review.
C Dove
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well written political thriller that makes conspiracy theories pale. Big business and government collusion and corruption at the highest levels. If you followed the Bourne series with an eye toward political intrigue and the action was just a bonus this the book for you!
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't "get" this book and found it long, tedious and confusing. It was possibly too involved for my leisure reading.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Mediocre. Too many psychological ramblings.
Dorothy Girard
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That is one heck of a story. Many, many characters come into play and the action is unrelenting. I was confused at first as I did not understand that the author kept going back and forth in time and some of the characters were specific to a particular time (and have short lives to prove the point). With regards to subject 13, it was very clever on the author's part, to throw in the name of Jack Pierce, a name that only appears at the beginning of the story. I need to read more from this author. ...more
Michelle Wilson
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a frightening story, that could all be true. Evil is part of our lives. In this book it is well documented. From London to Dubai with assassins ruling the world. Taking advantage of the break down of USSR and only greed being the main reason for all this upheaval. The good guys must bide their time. Thomas Byrne, the author is someone to watch.
David Richards
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What sounded like a promising plot quickly became a bit confused, too many named charecters, so it lost me a bit in the middle
Sep 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of pretentious "filler" that added nothing to the story line.

Frances Campbell
Too financially technical for my liking couldn't continue reading it
Tony Parsons
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Kate Farrow (psychiatrist, interrogator) & Dr. Cameron Krug (Former President APA, psychiatrist, neurologist, interrogator) are discussing their client Subject 13 (aka Jack Pierce, terrorist, weapons, drugs, human trafficking).
It seems he has been interrogated so many times he has lost his mind. Or has he?

Ahmad Ghazali (Density Capital) & Omar Sadir (investment manager, Dhatan Investment Authority) were aboard the 100’ Baglietto yacht Al Kamar that set in the Dubai Marina Yacht Club
Curt Fox
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Note, copy provided to me by author for review:

In a literary market rife with books boasting intrigue and adventure, it was a pleasure to come across this offering from Tomas Byrne, as it brought not only thrill and chase, but it's all done with an artful intricacy and strong style.

Joe Hawkins is an ex-US State Department agent teaching in England. His experience is in politics and related concepts, but as evidenced in the book's action, he might well have a bit of the operative in his pedigree
Jeremy Sheldon
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most impressive things about Tomas Byrne’s debut novel is that it achieves a winning balance, presenting a conspiracy thriller big enough to impress but also building an intimate and emotionally charged empathy between his characters and his readers. That Byrne writes in the present tense perhaps assists this fluidity of movement from the macro to the micro and back again, an all important-trick in a complex and intelligent novel like Skin in the Game that seeks to explore the individ ...more
Charles Ray
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Skin in the Game by Tomas Byrne is a taut political thriller that explores a range of topical issues, from government-sanctioned torture to corporate greed and manipulation. Dr. Kate Farrow is a psychiatrist working for an anti-terrorism interrogation facility in Kent, UK. When her boss, Dr. Krug, assigns her to help in the interrogation of ‘Subject 13,’ she soon discovers that things are not what they seemed at first, and finds herself having to decide between her job and her conscience. Joe Ha ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Since 'The Bourne Trilogy' movies, I have viewed novels that claim to be 'thrillers full of political intrigue' (and the like) with scepticism, however, I found that 'Skin the Game' is actually deserving of the phrase.

Tomas Byrne writes with a level of authority/knowledge that works to create a sense of realism. One of the ways he accomplishes this is by showing a knowledge of processes, especially legal processes, but without going into minute detail.

Byrne writes we an easy sophistication that
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an electronic copy of this book by the author for an honest review. Joe Hawkins got a little more than he bargained for when he decided to teach a class on Terrorism at Oxford University. After his brother Sam leaves him a package and then promptly disappears, Joe is thrust into the world of international finance, corruption, and world politics. Skin in the Game was packed full of intrigue, money, power, and corruption with a large number of important characters. Joe and Kate were my ...more
Tessa Martin
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thrillers
This is a very different kind of thriller from any I have ever read. A refreshing story, part mystery, part satire, with a depth of ideas that stay with you long after you are finished reading. Byrne sets up the contrast of unforgiving power relations at work in society and an innate vulnerability within that doesn’t release until the last page. This stark vision highlights how fragile our future might be, if it were not for strong characters that are willing to stand up to injustice. This confl ...more
Guy Allen
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a thinking man's international mystery. It has a good story line with enough twists and unpredictable events to keep the reader's attention. Descriptions of the various lacales where the actions take place are interesting and not overdone. The protagonist, Joe Hawkins is three-dimensional and believable, as are the various villans, especially Cedan Blake, Krug and the various minor players. The only concern is the use of the time element in scene changes in the latter part of the book. U ...more
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads, mystery
I was given an electronic version of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I have read some of the glowing reviews of Skin in the Game, and it sounds as though I read a different book. The premise sounded so promising, but I found it difficult and painful to get through. Perhaps I'm not sophisticated enough of a reader, but the story seemed to bog down at every turn and I ended up confused about what was happening more often than not and struggled to finish. The past and pres
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of the book as a free download in return for an honest review.

Tomas Byrne has created strong, believable characters and immersed them in a pulsating story line. The action skilfully moves back and forth in waves, fluctuating between past and present events in order to unravel the plot to the reader. Packed with political intrigue, power struggles and insatiable greed the main protagonists go to great lengths to ensure their ambitions are fulfilled. It is left to one man to try
This one took me 2 goes to finish it, and I only picked it up again as I’m doing a challenge and one of the topics was a book we started but never finished. It got better the second time around but I still found it quite confusing. It took me a long time to realise the chapter numbering was different depending on which storyline we were following. Perhaps it would have been easier if I had picked that up earlier. There were too many different characters to keep track of and work out what was hap ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dystopia Here and Now!

This is a timely and original thriller that succeeds via a tight but complex plot, and skillful management of a broad cast of characters who help us understand how we sometimes see or are blind to things happening before our very eyes. And we aren’t taken centuries into the future to imagine this terrifying scenario – Byrne’s tale takes place in the here and now. In matters of national security, too often after the fact, we find out that the illegitimate use of force was in
Dec 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not an Interesting book or writing style

I tried three times to read this book but found myself skimming through the pages. I didn't like the third person writing style where the author is describing in too many single choppy sentences (ex: She walks to the door; She opens the door; She turns the light on, etc.). It reminds me of when you accidentally put your television in the Sight Impaired mode. The extra details are necessary in this mode because you are describing what is going on to the Sig
Patricia Levack
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed reading Tomas Byrne's Skin in the Game novel which deals with problems that we face today. It deals with questionable practices that Government agencies, religious leaders and private enterprises perform. Is everyone only interested in what their own gain will be? Are they working to advance the betterment of the people? Or are they in it for the money? The different groups, including private individuals and terrorist are woven into the mix some tring to stop a disaster and others w ...more
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Canadian author Tomas Byrne is a native of Ontario, and received his education at McGill University, York University and the University of Oxford. For twenty years, he worked in London as a lawyer and banker. His novels raise questions about today’s controversial political and social issues. Byrne’s writing has roots in his extensive study of philosophy, mythology and religion. He counts Joseph Co ...more
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