Book Review – Skinjob by Bruce McCabe
I first learned of Skinjob at the Book Bloggers forum which Penguin Random House held in April. Bruce McCabe was at the forum where he spoke briefly about his book journey and I knew, out of the pile of lovey free books I received, this would be my first read. I was drawn to the eye catching book title and minimalist cover, but was surprised to hear quite a few of the women were turned off instantly by the word ‘Skinjob’.
I would like to state at this point that I am by no means a tomboy, but, that being said, you won’t catch me watching The Notebook or reading Jodi Picoult!
Skinjob is set in the not too distant future, where technology rules. There are ‘plotters’ who use technology to decipher liars and solve cases, to weed out the whack jobs from the truth tellers. There are also (as there are today) powerful, corrupt businessmen running our countries, influencing decisions and ultimately controlling our governments.
Madsen is the protagonist in this story. A ‘plotter’ who has been enlisted to work with the police to solve a bombing incident which has killed twelve people including two police officers. The intrigue starts when it is revealed that the building which the bomb ripped through was a ‘Dollhouse’. A Dollhouse is an establishment where robot women are used for sexual purposes. A brothel, without real women, who can take anything dished out to them and respond in a surprisingly human way. Did the new, quickly growing, mass Church NeChristo play a part? They certainly hate the Dollhouses and everything they stand for. What about the feminist protests? Those who say that rather than save women, these Dollhouses put real women in more danger, as men are allowed to do what they want, with no consequences. Or, is there are more twisted, surprising perpetrator?
I found the plot drew parallels to what is happening in the world today. The Boston bombings, with its real time news coverage, CCTV cameras and social media showing the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaevin and his brother in real time. Hillsong Mega church, Scientology and other religious groups which now seem to be big business, with power in huge numbers and stadium sized congregations. Last, but by no means least, the money trail to the porn industry which anyone can tap into for free at the touch of a button, or a swipe of a smartphone screen. Technology seems to be moving faster than our cultures can take. Where will this take us and all because we can do it, should we do it?
The chapters are short and the pace fast, which adds to the excitement of the story and keeps us following Madsen from one state to the next with ease. The plot is incredibly clever with a twist (which I must admit I had a hunch on) and a thought provoking read for men and women alike.
I did have one tiny piece of feedback. I would have loved to have found out more about the main characters. I wanted to know Madsen’s story and delve more into the relationship between Shari and Madsen, particularly in the second half of the book. They are great characters but I couldn’t fully picture them.
If you are a female and you like thrillers and a bit of action, don’t be put off by the title and the subject. It is far from a porn or tech fest, it is however, relevant, thought provoking and a real page turner. I loved this book.