Books by Robert E. Skinner

CAT-EYED TROUBLE by Robert E. Skinner
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

Five years after he gets framed for killing streetcorner hustler Junior Obregon, and several hours after his waiting girlfriend Lottie Sonnier gets executed gangland style, ex-cop Israel Daggett, released from Angola, pulls back into New Orleans. Even before Iz finds out about Lottie's death, gangster Joe Dante's slant-eyed mistress Stella Bascomb is waiting at the train station to greet him with a bullet. Iz isn't the only one who wants to avenge Lottie's murder: Cafe Tristesse owner Wesley Farrell, still passing for white, and Club Moulin Rouge owner Savanna Beaulieu are out for the truth too. But Stella isn't alone in this eithershe shuttles between well-connected Dante and crooked ex-cop Walt Daggett, Iz's own cousin. When the two trinities lock hornsand that's pretty much all that happens in this violent, colorful 1938-set sequel to Skin Deep, Blood Red (1997)sparks fly. Iz gets shot at and attacked by a pair of thugs; Farrell gets shot at and dumped into the Mississippi; Savanna gets kidnapped and raped; and the body count goes through the roof. Skinner outdoes even Red Harvest and The Big Sleep in distributing corpses; it's hard enough to remember who's been killed, let alone who's still available to stand as suspects. The tensely textured hard-boiled milieu is practically the only survivor. Read full book review >
SKIN DEEP, BLOOD RED by Robert E. Skinner
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

Shady New Orleans nightclub owner Wesley Farrell is an ex- janitor, ex-handyman, ex-boxer, and ex-Negro. At least that's how he thinks of himself, since he's been passing for white ever since he broke with his hated great-aunt, changed his name, and struck out on his own. But now Farrell's past is catching up with him. Willie Mae Gautier, that dragonish great-aunt, has turned up after ten years of silence demanding that he find out what kind of trouble her quadroon grandson, Marcel Aristide, has landed himself in. And suave, menacing gangster Emile Ganns offers Farrell a choice between earning $10,000 to solve the murder of Ganns's bagman, Det. Sgt. Chance Tartaglia, or hearing Ganns expose Farrell's carefully kept secret to the world—not a good career move in 1936. The two cases take forever to grow together, with nothing to watch but a packet of hot diamonds and some bang- bang-see-you-in-hell scenes while you wait. But once first- novelist Skinner starts to braid Tartaglia's family history (the unexpected return of his long-estranged wife and daughter) together with Farrell's own (he'll come face to face not only with Marcel, a no-account thief who doesn't know they're related, but with the father he never knew), the joint really does start to jump. It's Farrell's own explosive situation, in fact, that rescues this procession of insubstantial tough guys and tougher janes who'd otherwise flicker into momentary life and be gone in a puff of smoke. Read full book review >