In Skin Dance by Arthur Smukler, the main character, Dr. Jake Robb, is a dedicated psychiatrist who works in an upscale office in California. His compassion for his patients and his uncanny knack for knowing his patients better than they know themselves, are just some of his admirable qualities, but those same traits interfere with his personal life. While successful in his profession, his personal life is a mess. Because of this, he buries himself in his work.
He is in the process of a divorce; his daughter was taken by his estranged wife who moved back east where her family lives. In the meantime, Jake is in a state of constant depression over this, still loves his wife, misses his daughter, worries about his weight gain and to make matters worse…is being stalked by one of his patients.
A female patient of Jakes begins to stalk him. At the same time, he receives threatening phone calls; his office is broken into; and his car is trashed. Jake is abruptly made aware of his family’s past, and he is not happy with all the ugliness that he finds. There is one main aspect that sets him on a quest that could cost him his life, but he must follow up on it for his own peace of mind and closure.
The author is a psychiatrist which allowed him to write this story in such a knowledgeable manner. His main character was very well presented, and the symptoms of the patients, the manner of approach and treatment were all professionally described. Jake knew what he was doing in the story, and the author made it a point to vividly describe in medical terms, the drugs and other things that were referred to.
Skin Dance was fascinating. It was a good fast read, an entertaining psychological thriller that I could not put down. It kept my attention from one page to the next and I could not wait to see what happened next. I gave it a high “B” on my scale and highly recommend it to any young adult and older audience. It’s a mystery with a very unusual twist, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat.