• Skin Game

  • Sin City Investigations, Book 2
  • By: J.D. Allen
  • Narrated by: A.T. Chandler
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

PI Jim Bean should walk out that door and let the Vegas bouncer do his worst. That's what an ordinary man would do. But nobody ever accused Jim Bean of being ordinary.

Private Investigator Jim Bean has worked hard to create his new identity in Vegas. He doesn't have a great life, but it's his. When his ex-fiancée, Erica Floyd, walks into one of his investigations looking for her missing sister, the tragic past he wanted to leave behind comes flooding back.

Despite serious reservations, Jim agrees to search for Erica's sister. Clues lead him to a human-trafficking ring and one of Vegas' most influential mobsters. Unless Jim can face the ghosts of his past, the anger of his present, and a new enemy out for his blood, four women will suffer a fate worse than death.

©2021 J.D. Allen (P)2021 Podium Audio

Critic Reviews

“That wonderful and rare combination of high-speed suspense and complex, richly drawn characters will keep you on the edge of your seat.” (Jeffery Deaver, New York Times best-selling author)

"With one foot in the classic PI tradition and the other in the new age, Skin Game is no roll of the dice. J.D. Allen delivers a smart, fast-paced book that will keep the reader on edge from start to finish." (Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times best-selling author of What You Break)

What listeners say about Skin Game

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loved it

I accidentally found this series. I'm so very glad I did. Great stories, wonderful narrator, cool characters

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    3 out of 5 stars

Strong women are careless idiots?

The author seems to be trying to make the character Erika from Jim's past a strong, capable woman. However, like so many books by male authors today, this character is strong-willed, stubborn, gorgeous, and.... impulsive and careless. When she does act in a logical, capable manner, the big, strong man is soooo impressed (good girl!). (unhappy sigh...) The characterization of women popular in today's literature is debasing to women. Too bad... except for this major flaw in his writing that begs that I either immediately delete the book or throw my phone, I like this series.

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  • nf
  • 03-23-22

Disappointing after an okay book 1.

I had high hopes after book 1, which generally avoided hard-boiled PI plot potholes. Those it did fall into were offset by a generally well-written story or it subverted the cliche. The first book was included in my Audible subscription, so it was free. This one I had to pay for, and I'm sorry I didn't return it after the first couple of chapters. Sadly, this story was predictable from the start.

I'd say this review has spoilers except no one should be surprised by any plot developments after the first couple of chapters.

The plot starts with a whopper of a coincidence, and piles them on throughout the story. Bean, the PI protagonist, is surveilling a guy when his ex (who lives across the country) comes to visit him (the baddie) to ask about her sister who has gone missing. It transpires that the guy being surveilled just happens to work for the organization that kidnapped the ex's sister, and this organization is the same organization that kidnapped and murdered Bean's friend's wife. Also, this organization is headed by the guy Bean, unsurprisingly, is indebted to. It's like there are only 6 or 8 people in the entire city of Las Vegas. And, only a couple of total amateurs with no authority or legal standing are competent enough to investigate. The fact they don't die from their stupid decisions is only because the plot needed them to live.

The men in the story are one-dimensional heroes, tormented by Events Beyond Their Control or baddies who are evil caricatures who only lack the mustaches to twirl ominously. The sidekicks to the PI, are a tough as nails bounty hunter haunted by the kidnapping and murder of his young wife (a cliche all it's own) and a brilliant hacker who can get into any computer network that the plot needs him to get into (also a sidekick cliche).

As for the women, well...One falsely claimed Bean raped her, Another, his ex, failed to trust Bean without question when the charge is made and he is so offended when she asks him about it that he goes off on a sulk, which is fair because never, ever has there been a woman who was raped but disbelieved by law enforcement, family, and friends. The betraying ex is interfering, shrewish, incompetent and stupid, emotionally manipulative, and makes no positive contribution, only putting the lives of the men at risk. She is written to be so truly irritating and annoying I can only assume Bean is a masochist for helping her in the first place. Another woman is a diner waitress who can be counted on to bring the coffee, and who is kissed by a customer and likes it. Ugh. The rest are one-dimensional victims with no agency, personality, or depth. Would abuse depersonalize a person? Yes. Is that an excuse for an author to further depersonalize them? No. Oh, I almost forgot Bean's debt to the big bad is because he is bravely shielding a woman, not because he has gambling debts. That would have also been a cliche but at least it wouldn't have created yet another female victim unable to protect herself who needs a big, strong, brave man to save her. *sigh*

The misogyny in this story surprised me. In the first book, the baddie was an evil, cruel woman who, true, was deranged about a man, but she wasn't stupid, definitely not a victim, and she was tough and a fighter. The female fed was pretty, yes, of course she had to be and that had to feature in the description of her, and, of course, she and Bean just had to be attracted to each other, but she was also smart, tough, and competent. The story featured generic prostitutes, but one was a more interesting character. She was smart, tough and definitely not a victim. So, while I can't say it was particularly groundbreaking in featuring strong, capable, competent women who weren't victims and who didn't need to be pretty, sexual object of desire of men, it wasn't as misogynistic as this second book.

This review reads like the only problem I have with it is because the female characters suck. No, the real problem is that it's hackneyed and predictable. Trust me, I can read the old-school hard-boiled PIs with no problem. The women in Walter Mosley's stories aren't necessarily super awesome, but they are real people.

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  • Miss D. Thomas
  • 09-24-22

Poor recording

The start of every paragraph is missing, you get the second syllable of the first word as the start.
Yes you can guess what the first word is but it annoys the hell out of me and prevents me from enjoying and continuing with the book. I got to chapter 20 and was pulling my hair out and have admitted defeat.
A poor recording really can ruin a book

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  • Sjm
  • 08-25-22

Bean wins again- sort of

Another excellent performance by Chandler. Picking up more on Beans back story. Worth it.

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  • C M Silver
  • 10-24-21

Emotional Slay Ride

Jim is on another intense rollercoaster case encompassing more danger and dodgy situations. Several characters from Book 1 have walk on parts (not Ava).

Good thriller, but at hour 6, sadly, the female MC Erica, supposedly a smart banker, becomes a contemptible, tiresome, gormless prima-donna, so unlike her behaviour earlier in the book and the other MC females in Book 1. It made the last hour of the book hard to finish, such was her tedious dominance overriding the other MCs. And yes she survives the outcome and is still in the life of Jim at the end which will seriously affect whether I go to Book 3. (I subsequently got book 3 and phew, she's not in it, so read on in comfort).

GOOD UNTIL IT WASN'T