Break the Skin

Lee Martin. Crown, $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-307-71675-0
An uncomfortably close friendship torn apart by jealousy lies at the center of Martin's provocative new novel. When Laney Volk, a high school dropout, goes to work at Wal-Mart, she meets beautiful, stubborn Delilah Dade and dark, sinister Rose MacAdow, both almost twice her age. Delilah invites Laney to live with her and, despite the generation gap, they become very close, eventually sharing their bond with Rose. But Delilah and Rose's friendship unravels when they pursue the same man, a musician called Tweet. When Delilah suspects that Rose may have cast a satanic spell on her, she and Laney start messing around with guns, with help from Laney's boyfriend, Lester. Meanwhile, several states away, a lonely, desperate tattoo artist going by "Miss Baby" takes in a man who is either suffering from amnesia or hiding from his past, and convinces him that he's her husband. Crackling with dark deeds and bad intentions, Martin (The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize) snakes through the lives of the desperate without casting pity. The naïve Laney, splitting narration duties with Miss Baby, has a sharp eye for detail even if she lacks the framework in which to assemble them. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 275 pages - 978-0-307-71676-7
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