Cold Skin, by Steven Herrick

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 Holding has grown up in Burruga, a coal mining town where nothing exciting ever happens. He wants to leave school and work in the mine, but his dad won’t work in the mine and he doesn’t want his sons working there either.

Eddie’s teacher, Mr Butcher, doesn’t want to be at the school, either. He has ambitions to teach at a big private school. In the meantime, though, he spends weekdays trying to make Eddie’s life hell, and the weekends in the city paying women for sex.

When one of Eddie’s classmates is found murdered, Eddie is sure his teacher is guilty. After all, he saw his teacher running late for the train on the night Colleen died. But in a town full of secrets, nothing is as it seems.

Cold Skin is a chilling novel in verse for young adult readers. Herrick is a master of the form, and this latest offering continues his tradition of offering a rich plot with twists and turns in the limited words which the form offers. The viewpoint shifts between the cast, allowing an insight into each character’s workings, and the twists and turns of the novel keep the reader guessing till the end.

Suitable for readers aged thirteen and over, including adult readers.

Cold Skin

Cold Skin, by Steven Herrick
Allen & Unwin, 2007

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