SKIN PALACE paints a picture of a certain kind of book. One where the adult entertainment industry is at the forefront and, being a crime novel, accompanied by an ever present underworld influence. That's not what SKIN PALACE is about. It's a character study and so much more; a steady evolution of character through a decrepit viewfinder.
True, criminalities seep into the seedy underworld of sex, drugs and adultery bringing together critical plot elements centered around film, photography and family drama to form a complex topsy turvy narrative depicted in equal parts night and day. Yet it's the lives of the characters that envelope the reader in a shroud of uncertainty, trying to figure out each angle, plot thread, and core direction of story.
A the center of all that happens in SKIN PALACE is Sylvia who's passion for photography leads her to the Canal Zone; a dangerous quadrant of the city and rabbit hole of sorts which brings together a mystery of a man, a bloodthirsty gang, and a cinema (The Skin Palace) owner who sees something in her that her partner (and lawyer) doesn't - exploitation or opportunity?
SKIN PALACE is complex, interesting, and certainly not what I was expecting - in a good way. Despite being book 3 in the Quinsigamond Quintet it reads perfectly well as a standalone. Highly recommended.
I was provided a copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.