Under the Skin
A NovelBook - 2003
With his previous book, A World of Thieves, acclaimed historical novelist James Carlos Blake made a smashing debut in crime fiction with a thrilling tale of armed robbers and desperate lovers in late 1920s Louisiana and Texas.
Now, in Under the Skin, he presents an underworld saga with historical roots on both sides of the Rio Grande. While much of the story takes place in Galveston, Texas, during the first few days of 1936, its real beginning is in an El Paso brothel twenty-two years earlier, and the path it follows to its stunning conclusion in the Mexican desert is as inexorable as fate.
James Rudolph Youngblood, a.k.a. Jimmy the Kid, is an enforcer, a "Ghost Rider" for the Maceo brothers, Rosario and Sam, rulers of "the Free State of Galveston," the most wide-open town in America, 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, Jimmy has found a home and a profession in Galveston -- and a mentor in Rose Maceo. The town's bohemian character suits his own, and his natural talent with a gun is in keeping with his true father's legendary and violent proficiencies.
The specter of this fearsome father looms over Jimmy's story like an ancient curse. Their ties of blood, evident since Jimmy's boyhood, have drawn tighter over time. Then a strange and beautiful girl enters his life and a swift and terrifying sequence of events is set in motion. Jimmy must cross the border and go deep into the brutal and merciless country of his ancestors -- where the story's harrowing climax closes a circle of destiny long years in the making.
Populated with an enthralling cast of characters, smoky with sex, prickly in its humor, and unflinching in its violence, Under the Skin both wrestles and dances with some of the darkest mysteries of the human heart.