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The Skin Palace by Jack O'Connell
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The Skin Palace (1996)

by Jack O'Connell

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661180,945 (3.8)7

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Third book in the Quinsigamond series and another new set of desperate characters to enjoy. Again we follow two threads of life in the decaying industrial city. Sylvia is a frustrated photographer, technically she knows it all but there always seems to be something missing in her shots. She takes good pictures but nothing that she would call art and that is something she badly wants to do. She manages to acquire an old Aquinas camera and finds it holds some undeveloped film inside. Developing them herself she finds a series of pictures that can only be described that way and is instantly fascinated. Can she find out who took them?

Jakob is the son of Hermann, one of the up & coming crime bosses located in the Bangkok Park area of the city, isn't too interested in following in his father's footsteps. He'd much rather work on his screenplay and try and get into the film business. Any chance he gets to talk film with anyone with a scrap of knowledge he takes much to the annoyance of his father. His cousin is also none too pleased with Jakob either as he feels he should be the natural heir but the father always defers to his only son on that score despite the obvious disinterest. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to all when a prospective deal to provide funding for the latest project of Hugo Schick, owner of the country's most lavish porn theatre, Herzog's Erotic Palace aka The Skin Palace. Jakob's going to get hired as part of the deal.

Can the two would-be artists find what they're looking for and why do so many of the answers surround this den of iniquity? This is the more overtly noir tinged of the three books in this series so far and often pays homage to some of the great movies and directors of the genre. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend these books to fans of James Ellroy and the like. I should add a warning that if you read this book then your view of The Wizard of Oz may suffer as a consequence. 4★'s ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Feb 27, 2011 |
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For Nance & Claire & James
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Establishing shot. The Ballard Theatre. Night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Evangelists, feminists, erotic brokers, and a missing ten year old are all mixed into this Fellini-esque crime story in the carnal heart of the decaying New England town of Quinsigamond. "Noir" filmaker Jacob Kinsky arrives hoping to find the atmosphere that will put his name on the map. But Jacob may not have script control...
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A crime boss & rsquo;s son and an amateur photographer embark on a strange journey Nothing matters to Jakob besides film noir. Ever since he was six years old, when his nanny first took him to the cinema, he has known that filmmaking is his future. His first script, Little Girl Lost, is finished, and as he prepares for production, he feels destiny within his grasp. Nothing stands in his way but his father, a boss in the Quinsigamond underworld who wants his son to be a killer, not an auteur. Aspiring photographer Sylvia Krafft is trapped as well, bound by her husband & rsquo;s rigid ambition and lack of artistic temperament. Undeveloped negatives inside a used camera lead Sylvia on a quest for the man who took the pictures, and she soon finds herself at Herzog & rsquo;s Erotic Palace, a porno house where Jakob works. As the duo attempt to realize their ambitions, they journey into a twisted world where art and death are endlessly intertwined.… (more)

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