SKIN GAME by Ava Gray
SKIN GAME by Ava Gray
When I tell you this book is dark I'm not teasing, enticing or even tempting you. It's dark. If you squirm when the morals of the central characters are somewhat questionable, then this book might not be for you. Me? I loved it!
A paid assassin and a con woman. No two ways about it in most books called "romance" those characters would definitely be the "bad guys". While there is no question throughout this book that both Kyra and Reyes are not necessarily someone you might invite home to dinner, they are also attractive, extremely intelligent and live by their own set of moral standards. I found myself questioning how I could like someone who gets such a thrill of a well played con. At the same time, I couldn't help but admire the ingenuity, cunning and sheer joy the characters found in their play. It doesn't hurt that they are both intelligent, well built, and thoroughly engaging.
Of course there's a whole lot more going on than just two people on the road drifting and grifting their way across the United States. There are circumstances from events that have taken place prior to the book's beginning that bring Reyes and Kyra together. This book focuses heavily on these two characters as they discover not only each other but to a great degree themselves as well.
While I have always loved reading about dark characters, this has generally come to mean that the person, male or female, had some significant back story to explain why they've taken the road less traveled. Or, they are misunderstood, undercover... In other words, some device or twist is used to explain why the character(s) are morally ambiguous. Not so here. Kyra and Reyes have a strong internal compass. They are both very clear about who and what they are. No apologies. In fact, Kyra takes pride and joy in a well played con. She can't imagine any other life for herself.
This review would be incomplete if I didn't mention that there is an interesting paranormal twist. This element is woven fairly seamlessly and believably into the plot. You'll have to tell me what you think about it after you read the book.
I hated having to put this book down and in fact read it in two sittings. The first third I read on an airplane. For the rest of it, I stayed up half the night reading in a hotel room at a work conference. Now that's engaged reading. It's no exaggeration to say I enjoyed every minute I was reading this book, marveled at the author's deft hand and the feeling that I was actually watching the story of these two people's lives unfold before me. Nothing contrived. Nothing premeditated.
There is an excerpt of the next book in the series SKIN TIGHT at the back of SKIN GAME. I can't wait to see what comes next.
My Grade = A