Reviewed by A. Hurst
Skin Deep Motives
There is something incredibly satisfying about a book that you can pick up casually, and then refuse to put down until it is finished, mourning any moment where you are not immersed in the story because of some random thing in your day that requires attention.
I made the mistake of starting “Skin Deep Motives” a couple of hours before work; I was nose-in-book the rest of the day, any time my job allowed for an extra five minutes to read. Intense from page one, SDM only takes a few detours from the crime for sex and vegan-snacks. The “grunge” is alive on the page; Aaron Hilton’s imagery and writing-style capture the sub-cultures of Portland in a visceral way–I could taste the air in the markets and feel the oppressiveness of the rain. The city comes to life on the page.
The work overflows with a heavy appreciation for tattoos, Suicide Girls, and all things animal-cruelty free, sometimes feeling a tad extreme or superfluous, but never for long enough to get boring. It is a good addition to any noir collection: guns, dark crime, sex, and bombshells (sans leather).
Our Grunge Operatives, Matt and Leslie, are an interesting pair. The story isn’t transparent, which is a huge plus, and there are enough secondary characters to keep you wondering. Most importantly, they felt like real people, though every now and then Leslie’s emotions and perspective felt a little too ‘male’ for my tastes.
Even with those minor things, I’m still giving SDM a five star rating, because of how thrilling and exciting it was to read. I could read it again and enjoy every delicious word, hoping for more. Thankfully, it seems I’ll be getting my wish, as Mr. Hilton is working on Leslie & Matt’s next story!