Skin of Tattoos
by Christina Hoag
on Tour October 17 – November 24, 2016
Los Angeles homeboy Magdaleno is paroled from prison after serving time on a gun possession frameup by a rival, Rico, who takes over as gang shotcaller in Mags’s absence. Mags promises himself and his Salvadoran immigrant family a fresh start, but he can’t find either the decent job or the respect he craves from his parents and his firefighter brother, who look at him as a disappointment. Moreover, Rico, under pressure to earn money to free the Cyco Lokos’ jailed top leader and eager to exert his authority over his rival-turned-underling, isn’t about to let Mags get out of his reach. Ultimately, Mags’s desire for revenge and respect pushes him to make a decision that ensnares him in a world seeded with deceit and betrayal, where the only escape from rules that carry a heavy price for transgression is sacrifice.
Hoag tells the story of a gang member’s attempts to flee his life of crime in this debut novel.
After 26 months in prison, 20-year-old Magdaleno “Mags” Argueta knows he can’t go back to his previous life as a member of the Cyco Lokos, one of Los Angeles’ most notorious Salvadoran street gangs. He’s hoping his time served will earn him veteran status, allowing him to walk away without repercussions. Unfortunately, his crew is now under the command of his chief rival, Rico, who’s less than sympathetic to his aspirations to go straight. What’s more, the only jobs available to a tatted-up ex-con like Mags are demeaning, such as passing out fliers on the sidewalk while dressed as a clown. At home, his family relationships remain strained: his mother sees him as a disappointment, his father as a source of shame, and his fireman brother makes him look irresponsible by comparison. His sister, Lissy, still treats him with affection, but he’s heard rumors that she’s hooked up with a member of a rival gang. Despite his pledges to stay out of trouble, Mags finds that no one believes he’s up to the task. His parole officer tells him, “The life’s not going to let you go so easy.” As hard as that is to hear, Mags knows that it might be the truth. Hoag is a talented writer, summoning Mags’ world on the page with remarkable empathy and detail: “The sidewalks were crammed like a giant flea market—people selling jeans, pots and pans, plastic bags of mango slices….Everything looked familiar and strange at the same time, old and new, I belonged and I didn’t.” Despite a story that feels a bit well-trod, none of the characters seem hastily constructed or come off as clichés. Their pressures and motivations are clearly stated and genuinely felt, and readers will quickly become invested in Mags and his confrontation with an uncertain future. A sense of melodrama flares toward the end as events start to feel less realistic and a little more heightened and Hollywood-ish. But the overall experience is surprisingly nuanced and wholly enjoyable.
A well-crafted, engaging novel about an ex-con trying to break free.
We have all seen on TV, read about and/or heard about gangs in today’s society but Ms. Hoag brings us inside the gritty world of gangs with SKIN OF TATTOOS.
Magdaleno, aka Mags, has just been released from jail, after taking the fall for one of his “homies” from the Cyko Lokos gang, which he is a part of. But this time it will be different. He is ready to leave the gang life but soon realizes it’s harder to leave than it was to join. Is death the only way out?
A compelling, and at times chilling, tale of the inner workings of what it is to be entrenched in a gang lifestyle. The “codes”, the rules, the crimes and even the betrayals.
Ms. Hoag has written a truly extensive and intensive story that will have you turning the pages.
Genre: Literary Crime
Published by: Martin Brown Publishing
Publication Date: September 2016
Number of Pages: 267
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Read an excerpt:
Christina Hoag is a novelist in Los Angeles,. She is the author of “Girl on the Brink” (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016,) a YA romantic thriller about an abusive relationship, and “Skin of Tattoos “(Martin Brown Publishing, August 2016), a literary thriller about the gang world.
She also co-authored “Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence,” a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014).
A former staff writer for The Miami Herald and The Associated Press in Los Angeles, she was also a correspondent in Latin America, where she reported from 14 countries on issues such as the rise of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Colombian guerrillas, Guatemalan human rights, Salvadoran gangs, Nicaraguan landmine victims, and Mexican protests, for Time, Business Week, Financial Times, Houston Chronicle, the New York Times, and other publications.
She has had numerous short stories, poems and creative nonfiction published in literary magazines and journals, Her short story “My Mother’s Knives” was included in a horror story anthology, “And Now the Nightmare Begins” (Bear Manor Media, 2009) and her literary short story “Life Stories” is forthcoming in the anthology “100 Voices” (Centum Press, 2016)
Catch up with Christina on her Website ⇗, Twitter ⇗, or on Christina Hoag’s Facebook ⇗.
Visit these other Skin of Tattoos tour participants for more giveaways, reviews, guest posts, and interviews!
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Christina Hoag. There will 1 winner of a $15 Amazon.com gift card & 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Skin of Tattoos by Christina Hoag. The giveaway begins on October 15th and runs through November 27th, 2016.
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