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Skin of Tattoos

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Nominated for a Killer Nashville Silver Falchion award for suspense. A noir crime novel where "Sons of Anarchy" meets "The Outsiders." Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is paroled from prison after serving time on a gun possession frameup by a rival, Rico, who takes over as gang shotcaller in Mags’s absence. Mags promises himself and his Salvadoran immigrant family a fresh sta ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Martin Brown
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Average rating 4.65  · 
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 ·  17 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Michelle's Book
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
MTW Book Review #11

Book Review: Skin of Tattoos
by Christine Hoag


Cyco Lokos is a gang member of the Magdaleno (Mags) Argueta. He comes home to Los Angeles after serving a prison term for robbery, for which he was framed by Rico. Interestingly enough Rico is the new leader of the Cyco Lokos. Consequently, all he wants is start of new life and have people leave him alone. He just want to start a new life.

The problem with being in prison and a gang is that no one forgets, even though Mags
Matthew Peters
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Want to know what life is like in an L.A. gang? Read this book. Drawing on a wealth of professional expertise, Christina Hoag’s SKIN OF TATTOOS is probably the closest you can get to understanding what gang life is like without joining one. Given the crucial role gangs play in identity formation, it is little wonder that so many kids, particularly those from broken homes, join. What’s always been less clear to me is why it’s so hard to leave them. This book helps show why, despite a heartfelt de ...more
Sage Webb
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Skin of Tattoos, Hoag offers a strong statement on crime, gang violence, immigration, and social justice. The novel offers an authentic glimpse into a world that is too often oversimplified and misunderstood. As a criminal-defense attorney, I appreciate the complexity of the story, characters, and circumstances that Hoag has crafted. She eschews simple answers in favor of realism.
Sherrie Miranda
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Very realistic portrait of the gang life in L.A.
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I taught high school in Los Angeles so I knew young men like the protagonist. Unfortunately I was reading & watching several stories about troubled kids, so it was tough reading for a while.
But, I think this is a very good portrayal of the gang life & why kids join gangs. It's sad that many parents are fleeing violence in their home countries only to find another type of violence here in the U.S.
The ending was fai
Susan Hampson
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well if you are wanting sugar and spice and happy ever afters then don't read any further, you need fantasy and this is more like reality. It is gritty and raw, at times with a cruelty that so shocking that you really do feel the fear. This book is of course fiction but it has been written by a lady that has been right in amongst the real life homeboys and homegirls in Los Angeles and San Salvador. So this isn't one persons story, this is a representation of all of them. All their stories melted ...more
Sue Wallace
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Skin of tattoos by Christina Hoag.
Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is paroled from prison after serving time on a gun possession.
This was a good read with good characters. Although fiction it felt real. I liked Magdaleno. He was my favourite. 4*. Thanks tbc on fb.
Benjamin  Thomas
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Christina Hoag captures the gang life perfectly telling a story of redemption, survival and learning to do the right thing. The authenticity of the books rings true from page one.
Janet Storar
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been venturing out of my "usual genre of choice" lately and at first this novel was a step too far but I was wrong. Thrilling and thought provoking read. Not comfortable reading in parts but I recommend you do give it a go.
Alison McMahan
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The hero of the story is Magdaleno — Mags — who is just out of prison after Rico framed him for gun possession. Mags wants to go straight but Rico uses every weapon in his arsenal to suck him back in to the world he wants to escape:

“A lot of changes gone down in the barrio. We need to catch you up.” His arm hooked my neck in a chokehold. “You our firme homeboy, man, you’ll always be part of la familia. We need you, fool.” He squeezed a little too hard. “You come by the garaje. We got a jump in d
Kenneth E. Hartman
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found “Skin of Tattoos” to be an intricately plotted, Chandler-esque, very hard to put down, tale of Los Angeles gang life, Salvadoran refugee realities, and well written drama that pulled me along for the twisty ride. The ending was both unexpected and satisfying. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to see high-level plotting in action. Ms. Hoag is clearly a highly talented professional writer. I want more!
Isabelle Kane
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was unlike anything that I have ever read before. From the very first page, I was drawn into Magdaleno's tragic life. Magdaleno is an oddly compelling and charismatic protagonist. Yes, he is a criminal, and he does hurt, use, and abuse people, but he is also trying to "go straight." The issue and the fundamental problem of the story is that though Mags wants to get out of the Cyko Lokos gang, this proves almost impossible because those whom he loves are still deeply embedded in the gan ...more
L.C. Hayden
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mags Argueta is home from a prison sentence for something he didn’t do. A happy time, right? Not for Mags. His family doesn’t expect much from him, problems at home compound, nobody wants to hire a convict with tattoos all over him that show gang ties, and worse, he finds that he can’t escape those gang ties. To top it all, his relationships are complicated, especially when he continues to pursue his best friend’s sister, Paloma, a violation of gang code. What follows is a road Mags must travel— ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-read

We have all seen on TV, read about and/or heard about gangs in today's society but Ms. Hoag brings us inside the gritty world of gangs with SKIN OF TATTOOS.

Magdaleno, aka Mags, has just been released from jail, after taking the fall for one of his "homies" from the Cyko Lokos gang, which he is a part of. But this time it will be different. He is ready to leave the gang life but soon realizes it's harder to leave than it was to join. Is death the only way out?

A compelling, and at times chilling,
Em Jay
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book kept making me forget where I was. Seriously. There's something incredibly intense about the way Christina Hoag writes, something so real that you stop thinking of the book as a work of fiction at all. Everything from the setting to the characters to the language was hyper-believable, and Mags was a super strong main character to read about. Right from the beginning, it was easy to admire his desire to go 'straight' again, but it was just as easy to see how difficult that would be for ...more
Christopher Gamez
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was a real page turner that was hard to put down. The escalating tension between Mags and Rico created alot of suspense and I thought the homies were very vivid. The writing painted a very realistic image representing a sector of LA that isn't often portrayed. I Loved it.
Dorothy Elliott
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An original story that expresses the hopes of an immigrant family as they struggle to make a better life only to find that their new life in LA is rife with challenges and pitfalls just as their old life was. The main character, Mags, symbolizes their struggle through his involvement with gangs. This is a thought-provoking, well written literary story that kept me turning the pages and at the end left me thinking a lot about poor immigrants and the hard time they have making it and achieving the ...more
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Feb 25, 2017
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Christina Hoag was a former journalist for the Miami Herald and the Associated Press who's had her laptop searched by Colombian guerrillas and phone tapped in Venezuela, suspected of drug trafficking in Guyana, hid under a car to evade Guatemalan soldiers, an d posed as a nun to get inside a Caracas jail. She's interviewed gang members, bank robbers, gunmen, thieves and thugs in prisons, shantytow ...more

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