Break the Skin by Lee Martin
A Novel

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Synopsis

Laney—a skinny, awkward teenager alone in the world—thinks she’s found a kindred spirit in thirty-five-year-old Delilah. Then the police come to ask Laney questions and she finds herself reconstructing a story of suspense, deceit, and revenge; a story that will haunt her forever.

Seven hundred miles away, in Texas, Miss Baby has the hardened heart of a woman who has been used by men in every possible way, yet she is desperate for true love. When she meets a stranger, a man who claims he can’t remember his real name or his past but who seems gentle and trusting, Miss Baby thinks she may have finally found someone to love, someone who will protect her from the abusive men who fill her past.

But Miss Baby and Laney are connected by a terrible crime, and, bit by bit, the complex web of deceptions and seemingly small misjudgments they’ve each helped to create start to unravel. Action, speculation, and contradiction play off one another as the story is told through their first-person voices, which keep you nervously guessing all the way to the shocking, tragic climax. Break the Skin is expert storyteller Lee Martin at his very best.
 

About Lee Martin

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Lee Martin is the author of the award-winning story collection "The Least You Need to Know" & the recipient of an NEA fellowship among other awards. He is a professor of English at the University of North Texas & the editor of the "American Literary Review". Dutton will publish his first novel, "Just Enough Haughty", in June 2001.
 
Published June 14, 2011 by Crown. 290 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Break the Skin

Kirkus Reviews

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But Martin, whose kidnap novel The Bright Forever (2005) was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, expertly applies shades of James Cain–like noir to a modern story that might have been inspired by one of the Lucinda Williams songs on this book's soundtrack.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

The New York Times

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In this novel one of Mr. Martin’s characters even shows up on his dedication page: “For Baby, who spoke to me from her heart.” And at its own heart “Break the Skin” ultimately turns out to be “a story of love, no matter how roughed up and ugly and stained.” Adam Langer, the author of a m...

Jun 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

BC Books

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These characters cling to whatever they can to escape from the confining reality of their dead-end lives.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

BC Books

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Then Miss Baby spots a man outside her shop, a man wearing a derby hat, who has forgotten his name and where he came from.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

Kirkus Reviews

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Just a few minutes before, I’d been one of them, but now there wasn’t a sign, no sign at all, that I’d ever set foot in the place.

Jun 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

I do this same thing with Miss Baby, who tells herself she’s fine with not having a man in her life and then takes a drastic action to claim one. I dedicated the novel to Miss Baby, the only time I’ve dedicated a book to a character, because she spoke to me first when I began writing.

Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

The Anniston Star

... Book review: Break the Skin - Break the Skin by Lee Martin; Crown 2011; 275
pages; $24 “… but there we were coming and going in this town ...

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Break the Skin: A Novel

Reader Rating for Break the Skin
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