Arnold's novel is a well-crafted religious fiction about a big city lawyer who moves to a small town seeking a secure environment in which to raise her young daughter, only to find that she must face her worst nightmares. Karen is a bright 30-something lawyer in a prestigious Los Angeles law firm. Although she is plagued by the untimely, accidental death of her husband, she delights in parenting their six-year-old daughter, Lisa. Karen thrives on hard work and single motherhood, yet worries that city life is too dangerous for raising a child. She and Lisa move to rural Oregon, where the pace is slower, the air is cleaner and the people are more caring and friendly. Or at least that's what Karen thought--soon after their arrival, Lisa is brutally raped and murdered by a pedophile. Despite the fact that the murderer is caught and convicted, Karen is unable to rid herself of personal guilt. She interviews a prestigious psychiatrist who specializes in pedophilia cases and concludes that castration is the only cure for the mental illness. Determined to do everything she can to avenge Lisa's death and assuage her guilt, Karen returns to her old job in Los Angeles and aids a former colleague in prosecuting a child molester. When the women suggest castration as a plea-bargaining solution, the case blows up in their faces. They lose their jobs, their reputations and become estranged. Karen seeks solace from a fatherly priest in a Catholic confessional. Re-energized, she marries and partners in business with David, a ruggedly handsome, successful businessman who makes her laugh. When a business deal falls through, their idyllic lifestyle crashes. Near total breakdown, Karen and David look to their religious roots for comfort, answers and a fresh start. The characterization and atmospheric staging blend seamlessly to provide a distinct and well-paced plot. A compelling story filled with realistic characters displaying genuine emotion. --Kirkus Discoveries, July 2, 2008
About the Author
Jeffrey Maria D. Arnold received his bachelor of science from Southern Oregon State University, performed graduate work in theological studies and now lives with his wife and miniature schnauzers in Orange County, California. His experiences as a deputy medical examiner in Medford, Oregon laid the groundwork for Skin For Skin. In 2004, he published Peace, Medjugorje Miracle and Message, an informal testimonial about religious pilgrimage. In addition to his day job as a real-estate executive, he’s currently at work on three new novels, including: Red Haze—a story about a wildfire arsonist who eludes law enforcement and his conscience, almost, Viaticum—one Manhattan Project team member’s struggle with shame and his fear of death, and Priest—a generational novel about a Catholic priest in twentieth-century America.