Skinner by Charlie Huston

Posted October 11, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Thriller / 0 Comments

Skinner by Charlie HustonTitle: Skinner (Goodreads)
Author: Charlie Huston
Published: Orion, 2013
Pages: 400
Genres: Thriller
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Skinner is in the ‘asset protection’ game and he was really good at it. His method was fear, he believed the only way to truly protect someone is to make the cost of acquiring an asset far greater than the asset themselves. His employees were uncomfortable with his methods and eventually burnt him; now he is needed again and Skinner needs to re-establish his reputation once again.

I’ve not read Charlie Huston before; I knew he wrote the noir novels featuring Hank Thompson and the supernatural vampiric private eye Joe Pitt series. Both series sound right up my avenue, so why did I start with Skinner? Availability. I went into this novel not really knowing what to expect but hoping for a dark spy thriller; what I got was so much more.

While Skinner is written as a modern day spy thriller the complexity behind the espionage reminds me of the hey days of John le Carré. Skinner has been asked to come back, working for Kestrel which is a private offshoot of the CIA. The whole concept of a corporate owned intelligence agency is no new concept but it leaves Huston with the ability to blur the lines and keep the reader wondering if what is happening is on the level. Skinner’s asset, Jae, is a robotics expert and data analyst which gives us the predictable romantic interest, something that worried me the most within the book.

What I like most about this novel, apart from the complexity, is the way Charlie Huston throws the reader into the story, slowly revealing backstory and small clues into what is happening. This technique leaves the reader guessing about the missions and the characters involved. While this reads as a spy thriller, the way Huston works the characters is masterfully executed and left me wondering, and often not seeing a twist until it is happening.

Skinner is a cutting edge thriller; a novel I had so much fun reading and couldn’t recommend enough for anyone interested in books about espionage. The novel will keep you guessing, leave you thinking and the characters are great, I hope this is the start of a new series because I want Skinner to return. Exploring the terrors of modern warfare and cyber terrorism, you will fly through Skinner but then you won’t stop thinking about it.

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