Skin Deep, Blood Red

Robert Skinner, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $19.95 (247p) ISBN 978-1-57566-092-9
There's a pleasantly old-fashioned B-movie feeling to Skinner's first novel, set in a 1936 New Orleans so obviously well-researched that when a character drives down Magazine Street and turns on to Pleasant, ""a working-class neighborhood composed of shotgun singles and doubles,"" you believe it totally. Into this realistic setting, Skinner places a series of characters who cry out for dead actors to inflate their skins. Zachary Scott would have been perfect for Wesley Farrell, the nightclub and brothel owner who carries a knife and a razor, and who, we quickly learn, has Creole blood but has been passing for white for business reasons. Sam Jaffe was born to play the part of Emile Ganns, the dapper Jewish gangster who uses Farrell's secret to force him to help find out who knocked off a crooked cop called Chance Tartaglia. As Inspector Casey, apparently the only honest cop in town, Pat O'Brien would have been any director's first choice. There's even a fine role for Mary Astor in her Maltese Falcon mode as a devious daughter of the dead cop. Readers will enjoy joining Skinner in this homage to the genre's history, in print and on film. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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