Cold Skin
Steven Herrick
264 pages, published 2007
They named me Eddie
after Mum's father
who died before I was born.
'A quiet, stubborn bastard,'
says my dad.
I'm not sure if he's talking about
Grandad or me.

Eddie, eighteen, hulking and trapped in school, lives in the backwater town of Burrugo. Nothing ever happens there, ever; the most you can hope for is a chance to get a job working in the local coal mine - and even that, his father won't allow. Life in the small town is thrown upside down, however, when Colleen, a local teen beauty, is found dead by the river. Suddenly every one - everyone - is a suspect.

Problem is, despite the size of the town, no one really seems to know their neighbours terribly well, or, in same cases, they know them a little too well. Every suspect is clouded by years of prejudice and ill-opinion. Is Mr. Butcher, the slimy high-school teacher, the perpetrator? Perhaps Les Johnston, the handsome young miner? The suck-up Mayor? Albert Holding, the local war-time 'coward'? Or maybe his son, Larry, known to have a crush on Colleen?

Told entirely in first person verse, each 'poem' continues the story and adds yet another perspective to the mix. Certainly an interesting read. 3/5

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