Wednesday, 23 September 2015



When a rare book bound in human skin goes missing the prestigious University it belongs to is unwilling to risk bad publicity by calling in the police and so turn to ex-con turned private investigator Charlie "Bars" Constantinou. He finds himself plunged into the murky world of book theft, femme fatales that are literally all fur coat and no knickers, pitiless thugs and the chance to make himself some money. Just what is the secret of the Book of Skin...

Another Benedict Jones – Charlie Bars offering – The Book of Skin and another great short piece at 26 or 27 pages long. Plenty of depth and substance to it.

Charlie is looking into the disappearance of a £10k rare book, bound in human skin from a university. Subject of said missing tome – a 19th century study of sex magic!

Great dialogue, great one liners – on his way out of the uni, Charlie spots a security guard he knows….

“Money’s good and I might get to smack a student in the mouth.”
He grins at me. Always did have an aversion to learning.

With more valuable books left alone and after an inventory check some more on a similar subject matter also missing; Charlie has an inkling on the reason for the theft, and a possible suspect.

There’s some steamy sex with another employee of the university and after a second round of frolics, Charlie sustains a beating. His sex partner having set him up - The Book of Skin is in demand. Persons unknown want to get their hands on it.

Following up on our hunch, Charlie has a bruising encounter with a frustrated spinster and her sturdy rubber sex toy. He’s solved the case and recovered the goods.

However a final twist still hits us, as Constantinou is forced to display a certain amount of pragmatism in the face of a threat to his mum. Our avaricious collector is determined to have the book at any cost.

The Book of Skin has a new home.

Top story, superb characters, plenty of action and dialogue.

Charlie Bars has a certain rogue-like, wide-boy quality that makes him excellent company and one of the most interesting series characters I have read about in the past few months. Street smart and loyal, definitely a man you would want on your side.

4.5 from 5.

Benedict J. Jones – Skewered and other London Cruelties was recently enjoyed. Review here.

You can catch up with the author at his website here. On Facebook here and he’s on Twitter - @benedictjjones

The Book of Skin was recently downloaded from Smashwords for free. Link here. Check it out while you still can.


  1. This sounds like a very different kind of look at uni life, Col! Glad you enjoyed it, and that the pace a style suited you.

    1. I probably wouldn't recommend it to fans of mysteries set in the world of academia. Not much in common with say Morse wanderings around a faculty at Oxford, but hey it worked for me!

  2. last one was the torture one, right? I'm not too sure I can contemplate human skin...

    1. Well you don't have to sit through the book-binding process, so it's not graphic in that respect. I really liked it.
      The next one I read from him - PENNIES FOR CHARON - a full length Charlie Bars novel was even better!

  3. Replies
    1. Wow - hope you enjoy and can I have some feedback afterwards. Pennies For Charon is highly recommended.

  4. Short fiction — that's the magic word for me, Col. I like the plot of this story though I haven't read many set in the academic world.

    1. Follow the link at the bottom and you can still get it for free. I really enjoyed it and maybe some familiarity with the character helped. Let me know what you think.

  5. This author may still be a bit too gritty for me. I will wait and read about the full length novel.

    1. I should have had the review up by now, but I've kind of hit blogger fatigue. I'm about 4 books behind.