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Skin Games: A crime drama [Kindle Edition]

Adam Pepper
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $0.99
You Save: $13.96 (93%)

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Book Description

When a mafia princess falls for a two-bit hoodlum an unhappy don plays some rough games in order to separate the two lovers.

Sean O'Donnell is a man who always keeps his word, especially to a lady. His good-for-nothing old man left his mother flat. When she gets ill, Sean assures her that he will never be like his father; if he makes a promise he will keep it, no matter what the cost. When local mob boss Mario Torretta's daughter Nicole falls for Sean, the Don is not pleased, and makes it known that Sean is not good enough for his princess. However, Nicole is in love and begs Sean to stick by her. Once Sean gives his word, no amount of pressure from the Don will weaken his resolve. Sean will endure and persevere to keep his promise to Nicole, and to his mother.

Reservoir Dogs meets Romeo and Juliet in this emotionally charged, fast-moving crime drama for fans of Dennis Lehane, Andrew Vachss and Charlie Huston.

Editorial Reviews


Adam Pepper writes with zeal, verve, and a steak knife to the throat.
   -Scott Nicholson, Author of Liquid Fear

From the Inside Flap

A brutal crime drama from the author of Symphony of Blood: A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case

Product Details

  • File Size: 321 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615680488
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Innovation Haven (January 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006T80SPY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,214 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT GRITTY CRIME TALE February 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Those of you who keep track of my ramblings will remember that I really enjoyed Adam Pepper's take on an urban fantasy novel, The Symphony of Blood. Skin Games, sees Adam shifting genre into the more traditional gritty urban crime novel, full of New York gangsters, hoodlums and dames in need of help. The question is can Pepper make the transition from urban fantasy / horror to crime?

Thankfully, much of what I enjoyed about Pepper's previous novel is present in Skin Games as well. One of the strongest parts of Pepper's writing is a sense of identity and location. . A big problem with a lot of novels is when comes to a sense of setting, they are very vanilla, they lack a real sense of location. The characters and the locations of this novel live and breath New York. Skin Games is a novel set in New York filled with New York characters. When reading this book, you hear the characters speaking in a New York accent in your head, which helps to give the book a strong grounding in reality. The story is told through Sean "Shamrock" O'Donnell, a hard nosed, loyal, Irish American. And it is here that the strength of characterisation really kicks in and stops O'Donnell from becoming just another clichéd Irish New York punk.

But as everyone knows, you need a bit more than strong characters to make a story gripping and enjoyable. And this is something that Adam Pepper also knows. Skin Games gives you everything you would want in a crime thriller, and more. Love, betrayal, lots of violence, really nasty characters, all held together by a well written first person narrative, that keeps you turning the pages, just to see how far O'Donnell will go for love.

With Skin Games, Pepper has built on the solid foundations of his previous novel. This is a very good read that shows a talented author growing and honing his skill. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner!!! January 26, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Skin Games", is an action packed book from beginning to end; I could not put this book down!!!
The writer "Adam Pepper" did a wonderful job in telling this story, which is a combination of a modern day Romeo, and Juliet (without the poison) and a mob story.
You will not be disappointed in getting this book, it is a great read!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing Mob Tale January 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
After a couple of thugs burn her families' restaurant to the ground and kill two co-workers, Maria seeks revenge. She locates a mysterious man known as "Skin" but needs to be assured he's the right man for the job. Skin then tells Maria his life story, which takes up the majority of this engrossing mob tale from Adam Pepper.

Skin's real name is Sean 'Shamrock' O'Donnell, the son of a tough Irish father and an Italian mother. When his father leaves them, Sean becomes the man of the house and does whatever's necessary to help support his mother. The rough streets of the Bronx lead him to a life of crime, eventually getting him involved with the local gangsters.

Trouble starts at a mob party when bull-headed Sean becomes infatuated with Nicole, who happens to be the daughter of head crime boss Mario. They begin dating and quickly fall head-over-heels in love. Mario begins to send Sean out on set-up missions, hoping Sean will get the message to leave his daughter alone or be eliminated. But Sean proves too tough for his schemes.

SKIN GAMES is a study of friendship, love, and the power of true self-resolve. Pepper's realistic first-person narrative makes this a compulsive page-turner full of gritty-violence, seedy characters, and a satisfying conclusion that will leave you thirsting for more.

Similar to GOODFELLAS yet with its own voice, SKIN GAMES is a fine example of a self-published novel that's on par (or better) than anything in the crime/thriller genre coming from big house publishers. Mob fans DO NOT want to miss this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read with an adrenaline rush February 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Set in a rough neighbourhood in the Bronx, Skin Games is a world away from my own daily worries. I think that's one of the reasons why I enjoyed escaping into it: reading about pressure from mob bosses and the professional criminal's code of conduct allowed me to shiver delightedly from the relative safety of my London commute.

The novel is narrated for the most part by Skin, an ex-mob member. He shows himself to be a tough but likeable guide through the wildness of his youth. Life for Skin, then known as Sean `Shamrock' O'Donnell, was simple: loyalty is everything. Follow orders without question, don't rat anyone out, and if you give your word, you keep your word. Nostalgically he recalls jumping cars and starting to work his way up the ladder; unflinchingly he also details the many brutal beatings which came his way. Skin may not cringe at their re-telling, but I certainly did; they're quite graphic and this tale is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Skin tells us how he fell in love with the mob boss's daughter Nicole, and she with him. Behind the sweet story of naïve first love which begins to develop in the middle of the book lie the ever-watchful eyes of the mafia. In a world where Don Mario's word is law, anyone who wants to date his only daughter must come up to the mark, and a no-good Irish boy at the bottom of the food chain is not a desirable candidate. Mario decides to test him: he must prove his worth if he is to show that he can provide for his precious daughter.

As Skin (or Sean) finds himself carrying out increasingly dangerous tasks, he and Nicole grow closer and closer. But even as their relationship blossoms, the reader can never shake the uneasy feeling that their happiness will not be allowed to last.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Adam Pepper is good. Skin Games is the third book I have read by him, and, like the other two times, I was immediately pulled in by his prose and the way he can set the tone to a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by AnnBoozeandBooksBlogspot
4.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't what I expected
The book wasn't what I expected but that's a good thing. It's more of a love story slash crime drama. And it kept me reading into the night.
Published 7 months ago by Candee
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend
A gritty little story with a perfect, full circle ending. Your heart breaks for the loveable dirtbag who keeps his word. Definitely entertaining and is an easy read. I enjoyed.
Published 13 months ago by valerie j anderson
3.0 out of 5 stars Just the "Skinny"
Reasonable plot though lacking in development to make it believable. There's no way Sean would last as long as he does. Read more
Published 16 months ago by M. D. McDonough
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I kept me reading and did not like to put it down . Well written. great supense.Did not get boring.
Published 18 months ago by Lynne Chambers
3.0 out of 5 stars not worth reading
at times it was so slow, boring had to force yourself to keep reading. the ending was crap, it should have had a better ending
Published 18 months ago by l miller
3.0 out of 5 stars well-written crime drama
This is not my favorite genre, so I am not very well experienced in reading this type of novel. I thought it was well-written. and a good plot and interesting characters. Read more
Published 19 months ago by calicocat
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story
Sean O'Donnell is an excellent protagonist. He has a strong character, but he is not perfect. He makes bad decisions. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sheri
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish
When Maria needs help to save her business from mobsters, she turns to Skin, a shadow of a man who lives in the dark. Read more
Published 21 months ago by K. Nixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I really enjoyed this book. It was like Goodfellas meets West Side Story. It pulled me in from the first page. Great job!
Published 21 months ago by John Monaco
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More About the Author

At times disturbing and grim, others raunchy and comical, Adam Pepper's work is known for a unique blend of horror, suspense and speculative fiction. MEMORIA, Adam's debut novel, reached #1 on the Dark Delicacies Best Seller list and received rave reviews from Cemetery Dance and Chronicle. "Super Fetus," his outrageous bizarro novella was called "In-your-face, allegorical social commentary" by esteemed reviewer, Paul Goat Allen. His quick-hitting short work has appeared in genre magazines including THE BEST OF HORRORFIND, Vol. 2 and SPACE AND TIME. Adam's non-fiction credits span from NEW WOMAN MAGAZINE to THE JOURNAL NEWS. Learn more about Adam at his website:

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