St. Martin's Sept 2004, 23.95, 256 pp.
The searchers failed to find Melissa Teagles who was held captured and ultimately killed by the Goatskinner. The police could never find a trace of her until Buddy Bayes, the owner for the last year and a half of The Black Chimney Tavern in Wisconsin, found her hand while fishing; searchers never found the rest of her.
Buddy had left Chicago to start over after what happened in Chicago and he was an upstanding citizen until he found that hand. He believes that the person who took a contract out on him is responsible for Melissa's death. He doesn't realize that there is a serial killer operating in Gunnar. When someone abducts his waitress, he rescues her but the sheriff suspects him especially since the waitress is in a coma. Buddy devises a plan to make sure that the person who ordered the hit comes after him in Wisconsin. When his tavern burns down; no one lifts a finger to help Buddy who they believe is behind the killings. Law enforcement wises up that the Goatskinner has operated in the area for years and has at least fourteen kills to his credit, but Buddy and his waitress already left town determined to start anew.
SKIN RIVER is full of stark prose, a foreboding atmosphere and a thief who is not ashamed of his past but doesn't want to end up in jail so he tries to go straight. He cares about his waitress and is determined to stop the killer from Chicago.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner