Within the Skin by Zara West

Within the Skin by Zara West
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (342 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Known as El Toro, street artist Alba Vargas is on the cusp of fame and fortune. Winner of a prestigious award, she is the toast of the New York City art scene. Or at least she will be, once she figures out how to act like a woman after living disguised as a boy for six years. If she is lucky, she might even attract the attention of the tattoo artist she has long loved from afar. Tattoo artist Fernando Pharaoh has betrayed everyone who ever cared about him, including El Toro, the street-wise graffiti artist who saved his life when all looked bleak. Depressed, he turns from his friends and becomes ensnared in a criminal enterprise run by a former enemy. Then the crime boss kidnaps Toro’s younger brother, Hanger. Blaming himself, Pharaoh sets out to rescue him, resolving to do one good thing in his life. But Toro has her own desperate plan to save her brother—one that will not only break Pharaoh’s heart—but will also destroy every hope and dream she has ever had.

Some of the best movies are the ones where you sit on the edge of your seat screaming “No, don’t go in there!” That was this book. Within the Skin is the the third book in the series, “The Skin Quartet”, but can easily be read as a stand alone. After reading this novel, I am interested in going back to read the others to get a better picture of the backstory.
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I’m not exaggerating when I say this book was filled with unpredictable suspense and mystery. I had to put it down to go to sleep, but it took a long time for sleep to come. If I didn’t have to work then I would have just kept on reading. I made sure to finish it when I got home from work.

I’m at a loss for words. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you then definitely give it a chance. The writing style was riveting and it kept me turning the pages as fast as I could from beginning to the end.

I fell in love with Alba, also known as, El Toro, the heroine, and Pharaoh, the hero. They were clearly soulmates with hot chemistry. They had so much in common – from their past hardships to their perseverance to survive.

How realistic was this story? I have no idea but I suppose anything is possible in today’s world, especially in New York. It sounded more than believable to me. I found the scenic descriptions about graffiti art very interesting.

Anyway, I have zero qualms in recommending this thrilling book. It was a really great read!

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