Sunday, September 26, 2010

Skin Game by Ava Gray

     I’m a huge fan of Romantic Suspense and Skin Game is one of the best in the genre I’ve read in a long time. It had been sitting on my bookshelf for months and months, but I never felt the urge to pick it up and read it until my daughter, while in the process of organizing my shelves for me, asked me what it was about. I didn’t remember even having it, so I decided it was time to give it a shot and wow!!! am I ever glad I did.

     With a slight paranormal twist to Skin Game that in no way ever makes the characters seem less human, Ava Gray added a little something extra to the mix. Kyra, the story’s heroine slash bad gal, need only touch someone in order to absorb whatever it is that is their greatest strength. For a brief while afterwards, she can use that strength as if it were her own, but once it wears off she’s often left feeling pretty messed up and unable to function well. This special ability of hers isn’t dwelt upon much, which is nice, but we know she has it and we know when she uses it.

     Rey is deadly at his job, which is a good thing considering he’s an assassin. A “bad guy” who’s more good than bad, Rey is hired by wealthy, mob type casino owner, Gerard Serrano, to take out Kyra who humiliated him by running a con on the casino, taking him for a huge wad of cash, and doing it after having wormed her way into his life and ending up his fiancé. No self respecting low-life scum bag can let that go without retaliation, which is where Rey comes in. But what our ruthless hit man didn’t expect was how quickly he’d become attracted to his target and had to question his ability to finish the job he’d been paid to do.

     Another great player in the game is Addison Foster, Serrano’s head of casino security and go-to man when things are going to get ugly. Foster is the man who hired Rey to put the hit on Kyra, but it’s clear early on that he’s another “bad guy” who is so much more than he appears to be.

     There was something very intriguing about the characters and their stories. I enjoyed how flawlessly the author moved back and forth between storylines, reminding me of writers such as Dean Koontz and Stephen King who never waste pages with unimportant characters. Too often in books the bad guy is just the bad guy and we never know anything more about him than the fact that we want him/her to die. In Skin Game, however, even the bad guys are complicated people with some sort of compelling background story to tell.

     From the first page to the last, this story kept me on the edge of my seat. I stayed up late into the night reading, unable to put the book down. The characters are complex, so persuasive in their views on life, morals and the very gray area between right and wrong. And to add to a great cast of players, Skin Game has a believable plot that is detailed enough to keep it interesting, yet never too complicated to follow. And for those of you who are interested, Ava Gray gave us some of the most sexually intense scenes I’ve read. Hot, passionate, crazy out of control and at the same time, the sex wasn’t tossed in there every few pages just to help sell the book and never overshadowed the story itself.

     For fans of romantic suspense who don’t mind a tiny smidgen of paranormal ability, I’d strongly recommend you give Skin Game a read. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

     Next up: Skin Tight, the story of Addison Foster and Mia, Kyra’s best – and only – friend. It promises to be every bit as exciting as Skin Game and trust me when I say that this one will not even make it to the bookshelf before I’ve finished reading it.

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