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Extended Audio Sample The Skin Gods: A Novel of Suspense Audiobook, by Richard Montanari Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.28 out of 53.28 out of 53.28 out of 53.28 out of 53.28 out of 5 3.28 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Montanari Narrator: Scott Brick Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Kevin Byrne / Jessica Balzano Series Release Date: March 2006 ISBN: 9781415930106
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With the breakneck pacing and intricate plotting of his most recent novel, The Rosary Girls, Richard Montanari established himself as one of the most exciting suspense writers working today. Now he proves himself a virtuoso with The Skin Gods, an explosive new thriller featuring Philadelphia homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.

It is the steaming heart of summer in the City of Brotherly Love. Back on the force after taking a bullet during the arrest of a sadistic murderer, Detective Kevin Byrne warily returns to police headquarters. He cannot shake the memory of the Rosary Killer’ s innocent victims–or his growing sense that the evil has not been vanquished. And when he and his partner, Detective Jessica Balzano, are called in on a bizarre case, Byrne’s gravest suspicions are confirmed.

A madman, dubbed The Actor by the homicide unit, is meticulously re-creating Hollywood’s most famous–and most gruesome–death scenes. The first murder is caught on film, spliced into a rented VHS edition of the Hitchcock black-and-white masterpiece Psycho. But in place of Janet Leigh is a real-life woman, and this time, the blood is red and the knife is real. Soon, more thrilling classics are turned into terrifying snuff films and placed on video store shelves for an unsuspecting public to find. 

The key to this horrific puzzle could lie with any of The Skin Gods’ supporting cast: the A-list Hollywood director, the ruthless executive assistant, the convicted mass murderer–or perhaps someone else who has made a sinister art of gruesome violence.

Hot on the psychopath’s trail, Balzano and Byrne descend into the mouth of madness and beyond, deep into the depraved underworld of S&M clubs and the porn industry, where the worship of flesh leads to malevolent evil. Before the final credits roll, the investigators will discover that none of The Actor’s victims are as innocent as they appear to be, and that the clue the police need to prevent future murders might be found in Detective Byrne’s own dark past.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rose | 2/20/2014

    " WOW! The second in the Byrne/Balzano series, "The Skin Gods" is a fast-paced, grizzly, nail-biter of a crime novel. I would highly recommend this series, which starts with "The Rosary Girls." "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Claire Sadd | 2/16/2014

    " disappointing, starts off quickly drawing you in, seemingly fast paced, very quickly burns out, the first book I have ever given up on "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daver | 2/11/2014

    " Randomly picked this up off the shelf. It was fine. Nothing shocking. Lol. A bit original and creative, the concept was good. The reviews I read cited the "breakneck pacing" and whatnot. Eh. Whatever. I definitely liked and enjoyed it, but I'm sorry that I didn't feel that it wasn't anything extra special. Definitely a good quick read though, and I heartily recommend it in that sense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristy | 2/3/2014

    " The site ate a longish review before I could post so am not going to the effort to repeat. Didn't like THE SKIN GODS as well as Montanari's first Byrne/Balzano book THE ROSARY GIRLS but will stick with the series since I've bought books three and four. He's a good writer but there's an irritating plot device involving killers completing complicated tableaus before murdering victims that I hope does not continue in all the books - just not realistic enough. The strongest point of the series is the relationship between the two lead detectives and that was barely evident in this book until the last fifty pages when they finally worked TOGETHER in a way. Hopefully, the next book MERCILESS will further develop the partnership/relationship between Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/21/2014

    " This book started out way sloooooow for me, but when it picked up it was great, twists and unexpected, I really liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 1/16/2014

    " A brilliantly written, well conceived thriller, Montanari doesn't disappoint with his fast paced, twisting and turning plot and numerous 'red herrings'. Yet again I thought I'd guessed the killer's identity but was way way off. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Autumn | 1/15/2014

    " Not for kids. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 1/15/2014

    " The author included too much introspection with the characters - a little is fine, but this was really overdone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bernardine Santos | 1/3/2014

    " Fast-phased. You wouldn't expect that he would be the killer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drick | 1/1/2014

    " Montanari is a master of suspense and this one is no disappointment. The added bonus that it all takes place in Philadelphia and so mentions familiar places and watering holes - he uses the real names a places. So enjoy! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cecilie | 12/4/2013

    " A sort of run-of-the-mill book. The suspense works but isn't phenomenal. I guess my main objection is that I don't feel connected to the characters. Their trials really don't touch my soul and thus I don't get involved as much as I'd like to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob Jeremiah Nuguid | 11/26/2013

    " I honestly didn't expect the ending (which is a good thing), but the supporting details linking the Actor to the crime are not enough to convince me to give this novel a perfect five. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helen | 1/8/2013

    " Good crime thriller, bit slow to start, but plenty of excitement and super-gory murders, just didn't love the main characters that much though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristiana S | 10/30/2012

    " sejauh ini suka sama jalan ceritanya.. tapi masih pengenalan karaketr dan hubungan antara karakter satu dengan yang lain ^^ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 10/27/2012

    " Great book. The characters were amazing and the plot was just as amazing. While the ending was shocking. Great book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marianne Stehr | 11/19/2011

    " I thought this was horrible. For as good as the first book (The Rosary Girls) was this was equally as bad, it was so slow moving, I couldn't finish it, just a waste of time for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny | 1/25/2011

    " Nice pace, good mystery. A little far fetched at the end, but a fun book on tape to listen to and keep my attention on a 13 hour drive "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 11/8/2010

    " I found myself feeling for the chracters a little, however the story was pretty much what you'd expect a typical crime novel to be. This was predictable from the off and would please avid crime fiction lovers, however I prefer the Mo Hayder and Jeffrey Deaver brand of CF! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob Jeremiah | 5/1/2010

    " I honestly didn't expect the ending (which is a good thing), but the supporting details linking the Actor to the crime are not enough to convince me to give this novel a perfect five. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sezin | 4/11/2010

    " The premise behind this book, a serial killer murdering people like scenes in famous films, was interesting, however the story fizzled out by the end and got way too convoluted to maintain its tension. That said, it was very well-written and I certainly would read more of Montanari's work. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marianne | 3/19/2010

    " I thought this was horrible. For as good as the first book (The Rosary Girls) was this was equally as bad, it was so slow moving, I couldn't finish it, just a waste of time for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 2/3/2010

    " The author included too much introspection with the characters - a little is fine, but this was really overdone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rose | 12/28/2009

    " WOW! The second in the Byrne/Balzano series, "The Skin Gods" is a fast-paced, grizzly, nail-biter of a crime novel. I would highly recommend this series, which starts with "The Rosary Girls." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drick | 9/25/2009

    " Montanari is a master of suspense and this one is no disappointment. The added bonus that it all takes place in Philadelphia and so mentions familiar places and watering holes - he uses the real names a places. So enjoy! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liesl | 7/27/2009

    " A good book....a real twist at the end, I certainly wasnt expecting it! "

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About the Author

Richard Montanari is a novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and scores of other national and regional publications. He is an award-winning author of several internationally acclaimed thrillers, including Merciless, The Skin Gods, The Rosary Girls, Kiss of Evil, Deviant Way, and The Violet Hour.

About the Narrator

Scott Brick, actor, narrator, and writer, attended UCLA and spent ten years in a traveling Shakespeare company. Passionate about the spoken word, he has narrated a wide variety of audiobooks, from thrillers and science fiction to classics and nonfiction. He has recorded more than eight hundred audiobooks and won over fifty AudioFile Earphones Awards and several of the prestigious Audie Awards. He was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and the Voice of Choice for 2016 by Booklist magazine.