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The Skin Gods: (Byrne & Balzano 2) [Paperback]

Richard Montanari
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

15 Feb 2007 Byrne & Balzano (Book 2)

The streets of Philadelphia are blistering in the summer heat, the homicide rate is soaring and the nights belong to the mad. Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are prowling the streets with a growing sense of unease. Where next will evil rear its ugly head?

When a series of seemingly unrelated crimes shatter the restless silence of the city, their worst fears are confirmed. A beautiful secretary is slashed to death in a grimy motel shower. A street hustler brutally murdered with a chainsaw. Piece by piece, a strange and sickening puzzle presents itself: someone is meticulously recreating Hollywood's most well-known and horrifying murder scenes, capturing them on film and inserting the clips into videos - for an unsuspecting public to find.

While Kevin Byrne begins furtive investigations of his own, Jessica Balzano goes undercover to work the steaming back alleys of Philadelphia, entering a violent world of underground film, pornography and seedy nightclubs, hidden to all but the initiated. Discovering that none of The Actor's victims are as innocent as they appear to be, the two detectives arrive at a terrifying reality: They are not just chasing a homicide suspect. They are stalking evil itself ...

Frequently Bought Together

The Skin Gods: (Byrne & Balzano 2) + The Rosary Girls: (Byrne & Balzano 1) + Broken Angels: (Byrne & Balzano 3)
Price For All Three: 16.82

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (15 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009948689X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099486893
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Montanari is the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of Rosary Girls and Skin Gods, as well as the internationally acclaimed thrillers Kiss of Evil, Deviant Ways, The Violet Hour and The Devil's Garden. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Product Description


"'A relentlessly suspenseful, soul-chilling thriller that hooks you instantly'" (Tess Gerritsen)

"'Readers of this terrifying page-turner are in the hands of a master storyteller. Be prepared to stay up all night'" (James Ellroy)

"'A specialist in serial killer tales . . . a wonderfully evocative writer'" (Publishers Weekly)

"'A no-holds-barred thriller that thrusts the reader into the black soul of the killer . . . those with a taste for Thomas Harris will look forward to the sure-to-follow sequel'" (Library Journal)

Book Description

No one can hear you scream. The second spell-binding, unputdownable thriller in the Byrne and Balzano series from the Sunday Times besteller.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Follow On 22 Feb 2007
Don't worry about this being the second in the set because the book it a very good standalone in its own right. This is a very good, complex, plot which has you second and third guessing and in my case at least, completely fooled by the red herrings. There are good insights into the key characters, adding to that already disclosed earlier,and a very good high tension pace in the plot.

I consider this book to be above the usual run of the mill crime books. far surperior in content, atmosphere and writing. Well worth buying. I intend to buy the next in the set when it's out in 2008.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Montanari thrills again! 22 Feb 2007
By Clive
A follow-up to The Rosary Girls, which I would advise to read first as it develops the lead characters of Kevin and Jessica which will add depth (and enjoyment) to the Skin Gods. This story is quite fresh in portaying copycat murders from famous movie scenes (Psycho, Fatal attraction, Scarface, etc.) and hence the hunt for "The Actor". As with Montanari's previous books, we are treated to a good dose of suspense at a nice pace- both classic ingredients for a good book. Thankfully the book doesn't go sleazy as it delves into seedy bars and adult films, which I have experienced other reputable authors doing unsuccessfully. The various threads of plot here are neatly woven together in the last few chapters to finish off an enjoyable if a bit grissly, read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small Gods 4 Jan 2010
The serial killer is not a person with the right frame of mind, but it takes a certain special type of nutter to stand out from the bog standard crazy. When someone starts to re-record famous death scenes from the movies one such insane person is found. `The Skin Gods' is a fun and fast action thriller by Richard Montanari that is high in entertainment, but low in any sense of intelligence. The killer is well hidden throughout through a mixture of subterfuge and confused writing. I could not tell by the end what the killer's motives were and I was not sure if this was because Montanari was aiming for this, or just wrote confusing fiction.

On a positive note the book is good fun and the idea of a movie buff killer an entertaining one. However, like previous work such as `The Rosary Girls' the entire book is cliché ridden and a little hammy. I have no real issue with this as the book is at its best when rollicking along at a fast pace. I did think that for a book written in 2006 that the idea of using VHS was far outdated already. A killer would have had to search a lot of places even in the mid noughties for a rental site still offering that format. If as a reader you question Montanari's writing too much you will find many inconsistencies and plot holes. This is a slightly daft thriller that is best read as entertainment to wash over you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Thriller 28 Mar 2008
By J.Flood
A serial killer is stalking the streets of Philadelphia. His modus operandi is to re-enact murder scenes from famous films, but for real, on his unsuspecting victims. He films the murders and inserts them into the relevant, rented video, where it will be discovered, by the next person who rents it out, from the video store.

I found this book a fairly interesting read, and the two main characters characters in the book, detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, quite good. There was usually enough action going on to keep my interest, as the Philadelphia Police Department try to find their killer. However, there was nothing about the book that made it outstanding, in a crowded genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars farfetched 8 April 2007
By Ramses
This is a really good book with heroes you can really feel coming out of the pages. Congratulations on that. The story is fairly riveting with quite a nasty villain, but this is all - for me - taken down by too many twists and turns in the last rush towards the end of the book. Really too much is too much, at some point you will wonder if the bad guy is not a dog (why not?), your mother-in-law, whatever ... As a result it started verging on the ridiculous and lost its edge for me. But this is mostly very good and I will try the "Rosary girls" - written before this one it seems, anyway. This author can keep you enthralled.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very gripping 6 Aug 2008
Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano return in the second book in the series written by Richard Montanari where a killer known as The Actor is re-creating famous murder scenes from movies such as Psycho, Scarface and Fatal Attraction and placing them in VHS copies of the originals for unlucky viewers to see.

I absolutely loved the first book in the series, The Rosary Girls, and this one is even better. Again Montanari writes such a gripping and well thought out thriller with so many twists and turns that kept me guessing who the killer was right up until they were revealed, and I was still wrong!

The killings are brutal and gory, the suspense is so high in places that I just had to keep reading to find out what happens next and the characters are a lot more developed here too, so if you have read the first book it is interesting to see them progress and find out more about them.

Overall this is an excellent book that should not be missed and I can't wait to read the rest of the series now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from start to finish! 21 Nov 2007
Being new to Montanari's books, I started with Rosary Girls, and was instantly impressed at his level of writing skill. He managed to keep me gripped from beginning to end.

I love the way he doesn't end his books with "and they walked away down the steps" His endings are full, and you feel you have been completely satisfied. Most crime writers should take a leaf out of Montanari's book, and learn to end their books better.

I would highly recommend reading this book, and his other works A+
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read ,
Published 1 month ago by robert moore
1.0 out of 5 stars Never purchased through you
Why am I being asked about something I have no recollection of ever buying. I have noticed that you keep on including this book as something I have purchased previously would you... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mrs Jan Vick Hughes
2.0 out of 5 stars So Boring
To be honest I didn't even finish this book, I was loosing the will to live. Though it was boring, repetitive and you could almost tell exactly where the story was going. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ann Dickie
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripped from start to finish.
This was my second richard montanari book, and all though it was slow to start with after the explosive ending to his first book (the rosary girls) I could not put it down once it... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Daniel Goodwin
4.0 out of 5 stars fast paced thriller
Great book not quite as good as his first Balzano novel but I still enjoyed it thoroughly and will be purchasing the next book in the series. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow up.
Thoroughly enjoyed this work. Would certainly recommend it.the characters are great and the story flows very nicely. Keep up the good work.
Published 13 months ago by Duncan Thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars It's good
From the beginning I was hooked , the plot was so doable, I could imagine some nutter going about re- enacting scenes from movies and putting them over the originals. Read more
Published 14 months ago by A. Brooks
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book and solid plot
A good book with a solid plot. My only problems were that it felt a bit prolonged and dragged-out. Still, if you're a fan of Montonari, then you will not be disappointed.
Published 16 months ago by Cathal Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense
I gave this a five star rating because i was gripped from the start so many twists and unexpected ending. Definitely cant wait to read the next book. Read more
Published 19 months ago by clare louise twigger
5.0 out of 5 stars The Skin Gods-Richard Montanari
Richard Montanari writes books that grip you to the end.I dont like writing reviews that tell the story so all I'm saying is buy it and enjoy.
Published 19 months ago by kathryn
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