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American Skin by Ken Bruen
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American Skin (2006)

by Ken Bruen

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I enjoyed the previous Bruen book that I read, The Guards, so was expecting a lot from this one. In the event I was somewhat disappointed: American Skin enthralled me a lot less than I'd anticipated, not (I concluded) because of the storytelling, which is trademark Bruen, but because there were -- and I know this sounds odd -- too many psychopaths in the tale. Stephen Blake and his best pal Tommy pull off a bank heist in Ireland with an Ulster IRA psychopath called Stapleton, who climaxes the heist by killing Tommy. Blake flees for the US, leaving financial-whizkid girlfriend Siobhan to launder the money preparatory to joining him, with it, in the US. But Stapleton has other ideas. In the US, Blake, who himself is not without psychopathic tendencies, guiltily boffs the psychopathic nympho wife, Sherry, of the psychopathic petty gang boss who used to be Tommy's friend, then offs the friend and flees again, now for Tucson. Sherry pursues, hooking up with another psychopath, sadistic serial killer Dade . . . Are you beginning to realize why my disbelief failed to stay fully suspended? ( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
The first book I've read by Ken Bruen and really a taster for me to help me decide whether to pursue the Jack Talor series which I will probably now do because after this I'm certainly interested to read more as this was a stylish noir novel that had characters packed with menace and a Pulp Fiction style storyline that had the characters crossing over into storylines that were previously unrelated. The mixture of American and Irish characters and settings works well for me and everything is conveyed with a sense of realism that is sometimes lacking in lesser novels. ( )
  johnbsheridan | May 25, 2010 |
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Glen tried to keep the SUV steady.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0863223796, Hardcover)

Comparable to William Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers and Norman Mailer's Why Are We in Vietnam, Ken Bruen's American Skin is a unique take on the American dream from a master of noir. Ken Bruen has been a finalist for the Edgar, Anthony and Barry Awards.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:31 -0400)

Traces the collision of Stephen Blake, his girlfriend Siobhan, his best friend Tommy, an IRA terrorist named Stapleton, and an American psychopath named Dade, who interact between the dive bars of New York and the harsh Southwest desert.

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