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American Skin [Paperback]

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Item description for American Skin by Ken Bruen...

Stephen Blake is a good man blown in bad directions. He and girlfriend Siobhan, best friend Tommy, IRA terrorist Stapleton, and a particularly American sort of psychopath named Dade, are all on a collision course somewhere between the dive bars of New York and the pitiless desert of the Southwest. This is the long-awaited American novel by Ken Bruen, the hard-boiled master of Irish noir.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 25, 2007
Publisher   Justin, Charles & Co.
ISBN  1932112499  
ISBN13  9781932112498  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ken Bruen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ken Bruen has been an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia, and South America. He has been a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards, and has won a Macavity Award, a Barry Award, and two Shamus Awards for the Jack Taylor series. He is also the author of the Inspector Brant series. Several of Bruen's novels have been adapted for the screen: The first six jack Taylor novels were adapted into a television series starring Iain Glen; Blitz was adapted into a movie starring Jason Statham; and London Boulevard was adapted into a film starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley. Bruen lives in Galway, Ireland.

Ken Bruen currently resides in Galway

Ken Bruen has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Jack Taylor Novel

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Men's Adventure
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > Hard-Boiled

Reviews - What do customers think about American Skin?

One Solid Rip  Feb 16, 2008
This one, in spots, is as brutal as they get. In other spots, it's equally insightful and melancholy. The references come in torrents -- poets, musicians, authors. I've never seen a book reference Rory Gallagher before so Bruen gets extra bonus points for that, right there. The mix of Irish attitude and the harsh American desert southwest, both Tucson and Las Vegas, make this a special read. How Bruen mixes so much plot into a brief, spare book is also a classic example of how less truly is more. This is not for the squeamish, though, and comes with a caution that the territory here is rough and the roads lead to some very bleak places.
Do you like Tarantino or Guy Ritchie films?  Jan 9, 2008
Then you are going to love American Skin. Normally I would recommend an author by saying read this if you like DeMilles work or something, but this is a cinematic novel. Hell, if they make it into a film, Bruen has already created the soundtrack with his constant musical references. I have not read any books by Bruen previously. I was drawn to this book by the subject matter, and I am not sure that I would enjoy his books set in Ireland quite as much. He is a master at creating colorful characters though. When he gets into a lot of the Irish political references I unfortunately get a little lost. That is like calling myself stupid, I know. I think I have to go back and reread Trinity. Not that the book wasn't revealing concerning Irish culture and not that I did not enjoy the scenes there. But I have to admit that I enjoyed the passages that took place in the states a bit more. Nonetheless I almost gave this 5 stars. It was a fun and very quick read.
entertaining Irish visitor Noir   Sep 26, 2007
In Galway, Ireland Stephen Blake reluctantly participates in a bank robbery in which his friend is killed. He escapes with the loot and after consulting with his girlfriend Siobhan flees to Tucson, Arizona where he is to hide as an American; Siobhan will join him shortly with the plan being she will launder the money.

The IRA leader who arranged the heist wants its booty. Crazy outraged hitman John A. Stapleton comes to America to take back what is his; however, John A. plans to eliminate anyone who knows about the money. Blake also runs into other problems in spite of his effort to remain figuratively buried in the desert. He meet femme fatale killing machine Sherry and Tammy Wynette's biggest fan Dade, who kills anyone who fails to stand by his singer. This fearsome five will soon collide turning the southwest into a ferocious dead zone.

This Irish visitor Noir is an over the Rocky Mountains thriller that hooks fans of Ken Bruen from the moment the key quintet is introduced and never slows down until the desert storm is over. The story line is action-packed as the audience anticipates a multiple High Noon shoot out in which there is no telling who the last man or woman standing will be. Violence may be as American as cherry pie, but Mr. Bruen takes murder and mayhem to caricature levels in this fun tale.

Harriet Klausner
See Moniker's Review  Aug 26, 2007

On page 179 a minor character's name changes from Bob to Bill. Lest you think it was a mere typo, "Bill" is then mentioned by name five times on p. 179. Then his name changes back to Bob.

A nitpick on my part? Maybe.

But when I see things like this in novels I wonder how much time and effort was really put into them by the author, the editor and the publisher.

I've read all of Bruen's stuff and there seems to be a precipitous downhill slide. His three current books are all marked by minor, yet jarring, errors. This one, in Ammunition a key character has a change of eye color and in Cross protagonist Jack Taylor grits his teeth even though they were, to a molar, all knocked out a few installments ago.

"American Skin": Not worht your time  Aug 1, 2007
I'm generally very open about crime books, from Douglas Preston to Lee Child and Janet Evanovich and all the others. So when I saw this book at the library, I had to take it off the shelf and read it. Barely 300 pages, in large text, "American Skin" fails both as a drama and a crime book.

The plot outline is simply: Stephan Blake, of Ireland, gets involved in a failed attempt to rob a bank, resulted in his best friends death. Now th e third member of the bank robbing party is after him and his girlfriend, forcing Blake to run away to America. Despite his claims that he is moral and loves his girl friend, Blake sleeps around in New York and does just about every drug imaginable, with no point.

Strangely, the book does not seem to have a consistent plot. The author, Ken Bruen, writes about certain characters for a time and then forgets around then for chapters at a time before returning them to the plot. None of these characters even have a semblance of maturity, depth or even personality. There's no real beginning - the bank robbery takes place in poorly done flash backs - or even a middle - just excessive amounts of drug usage - and the ending falls apart with no climax or even real conclusion.

The author attempts to connect with the reader by making a huge number of media and cultural references, primarily through movies and music, but the attempt to "bond" with the reader makes it seem that Bruen simply went on wikipedia and looked up a list of popular shows and music before writing. The pointless references to Sex and the City, Christopher Walken, Monk, The Ramones, Bruce SPingsteen and more add nothing.

Side note: The book also suffered from very poor editing skills, with multiple grammar mistakes, typos and poorly spaced print. Which just goes to show that no one really cared about the book enough to even properly review it.

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