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Skin Deep    by Mark del Franco order for
Skin Deep
by Mark del Franco
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

In his new series featuring druidess Laura Blackstone, Mark Del Franco takes us back to the world he created in his Connor Grey novels, but this time sets the story amidst the political intrigue of Washington, D.C.. While their world may be the same, Laura and Connor are two completely different characters.

Laura Blackstone comes from a line of druids set on keeping with older traditions, even after the Convergence. However Laura, in her capacity as public relations director for the Fey Guild, has to keep up with the modern human world. Her current task relates to the upcoming Fey exhibition of the London Treaty at the National Archives. However, before she can really focus on the politics involved in making that run smoothly, S.W.A.T. team member Janice Crawford is shot at during a drug bust. What does Janice have to do with Laura? They are the same person. As a druidess, Laura is able to create glamours that let her be other people, an invaluable skill in her clandestine work for InterSec, the Fey intelligence agency. Aside from herself and Janice, Laura is also Muriel Tate, a very high-level InterSec agent. When all these personas get involved in trying to diffuse threats against the exhibition's opening, Laura finds it hard to keep her three lives separate.

Del Franco has created a unique concept in the Laura Blackstone series. As the urban fantasy genre grows, it is refreshing to see that there are still new and different characters and storylines. Laura is a solid character and the reader can easily empathize with how lonely her life has become and the reasons she tries to keep herself from forming deep relationships, but she is still a little too popular. Readers tend to want to root for the underdog, which is why the Connor Grey novels work so well. While Laura is likeable, she is a little too popular with everyone. Still, I do enjoy her and hope to see what other personas she has to undertake in her work with InterSec and the Fey Guild.

Mark del Franco has created another series to delight urban fantasy fans. Skin Deep introduces us to completely new characters with new problems and relationships that help us feel at home in this alternate world.

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