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COLD SKIN by Steven Herrick Kirkus Star


by Steven Herrick

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-572-0
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

A teen confronts cowardice and first love in a rural Australian coal-mining town immediately after World War II, when he witnesses events surrounding the murder of his classmate. Eddie and his brother Larry live with their parents on the fringe of backwater Burruga. Slow, steady Eddie longs to leave school and work in the mines while smart, lazy Larry studies hard to escape. Labeled a “chicken” for driving trucks in the army and refusing to work in the mines, their angry, bitter father resents everyone. When a local girl is murdered, Eddie’s sure he knows the killer, but his father has other ideas, which leads to an agonizing father-son confrontation. Written in cadenced prose poetry, the realistic, chilling story unfolds slowly through the alternating first-person, present-tense voices of Eddie, Larry, their dad, Eddie’s girlfriend, the mayor, the schoolteacher, the newspaper editor, the police sergeant and the victim. Herrick’s adroit use of multiple perspectives allows readers to understand the motivations of each character in what proves to be a taut and tender tale of courage and revenge. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)