Review: Skinjob By Bruce McCabe


Title: Skinjob

Author: Bruce McCabe

Published: Bantam Press June 2014

Status: Read from June 15 to 16, 2014 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Skinjob is an entertaining techno-action thriller written by Australian author Bruce McCabe. Initially a self published work, Skinjob found its way into the hands of one of London’s most prestigious literary agents and has since been picked up by Bantam Press (Random House).

In Skinjob, Daniel Madsen, one of only a handful of FBI agents trained to use hand held lie detector units, is tasked to assist in the investigation of the bombing of a ‘Dollhouse’, a brothel offering the services of life like automatons, known as ‘skinjobs’ in San Francisco. With twelve dead, including two police officers, and fears of another attack, Madsen is under pressure to identify whoever is responsible and make an arrest. The obvious suspects are among the country’s fastest growing church, the New Christian Church of America, who have been vocal in their public damnation of skinjobs and their creator, DreamCon, but as Madsen digs deep into the case, with the help of SFPD video surveillance operative, Shahida Sanayei (Shari), he uncovers a twisted collision of exploitation, corporate greed and corruption.

Madsen, an agent with a strong belief in justice and a dry sense of humour, is an appealing protagonist. His job as a ‘plotter’ isn’t popular with his colleagues and his investigation is hampered by their mistrust. Madsen however is relentless in his pursuit of truth and when alerted to an anomaly in the case by Shari, he is determined to follow it up, no matter the consequences.

Short chapters, cinematic writing and a tight plot create a fast paced story. The action takes place over six days and includes exciting twists and turns as the investigation plays out.

Skinjob is not just a mindless action thriller though, McCabe touches on themes such as privacy and integrity by making the technology utilised by Madsen and the police a feature of the investigation. The technology is not too far ahead of our own – super surveillance provided by a huge network of public and private cameras, intelligent facial/body recognition software and hand held polygraph machines.
McCabe also explores issues surrounding the sex industry and corporate religion and the ways in which both exploit their clients vulnerabilities for financial gain, and use their huge profits to manipulate political decisions.

I enjoyed Skinjob, finding it to be an engaging thriller exploring a provocative near future reality. With this impressive debut, I look forward to McCabe’s next novel.

Skinjob is available to purchase from

Random House I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU I Amazon US


US Edition



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael @ Literary Exploration
    Jun 19, 2014 @ 10:20:09

    I find it fascinating when I read a book and wonder if we have read the same book. People obviously read (and write) differently and it is interesting to see what people think. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, I did as well but for very different reasons



  2. Brona
    Jun 21, 2014 @ 20:10:05

    My husband enjoyed this novel too.
    I can proudly say that I work in one of the Indie bookshops that stocked Bruce’s book when it was still self-published. He’s a lovely man & I’m glad to see his book getting out there now 🙂



  3. Kimberly (@TurninThePages)
    Jun 24, 2014 @ 06:16:17

    I love techno thrillers, so this one is definitely going on my TBR list 🙂
    Kimberly @ Turning the Pages



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