Friday, August 24, 2012

Yakuza & The House of Skin

Many years ago I read Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man and it haunted me for a very long time. Though I have never desired to have a tattoo I have loved seeing them on the bodies of men I loved and find them mesmerizing and, yes, tantalizing. My beloved Uncle Buddy, my godfather to whom The Old Mermaid's Tale is dedicated, had tattoos on his arms and I thought they were just great even though he often wished he had never gotten them. Some years back I had a romance with a man named Theo who had quite a lot of them and I found them quite irresistible.

Consequently when I read Kiana Davenport's House of Skin: Pacific Island Stories, I was more than a little enchanted by the title story. It is about a beautiful Hawaiian woman who marries a Yakuza, a member of the Japanese mafia, who is tattooed from head to foot. It is a powerful and frightening story with a shocking ending. Kindle owners can get the entire collection free as part of a KDP Select Promotion starting tomorrow and running until the 29th.

It is said that the Yakuza do not live long lives. Partly this is because they live in a dangerous world but also because, being fully tattooed, their skin does not breathe as it should and many complications can result. I do not know if this is medically sound but that's what they say.

So what is is about tattoos. Well, of course, much of it has to do with the body under the tattoo. If that body is particularly beautiful the tattoo just serves to enhance the beauty. The hunk below is John Quinlan from Boston who I cyber-met through a forum for writers. He is breaking into the romance novel cover model field and, in my opinion, has far more appeal than a lot of the romance cover models I've seen.

Also there is just something so mysterious and exotic about tattoos. In my novel The Old Mermaid's Tale there is a scene in which a tattoo contest is held inside the Mermaid Inn and Clair, the heroine is flabbergasted. She has never seen full body tattoos – especially on women. I admit to being a bit prejudiced in that I don't find tattoos on women as appealing as on men but that may have a lot to do with my rampant heterosexuality.

I remember reading a story some years ago about a beautiful woman who married a tattoo artist who persuaded her to let him give her first one tattoo and then another and then another until finally she was covered in tattoos. For years she was somewhat embarrassed by them but then, when he died suddenly and unexpectedly, she began to show her tattoos wearing short skirts and camisoles to show them off. Finally a man who studied the art of tattoos came to see her and said he wanted permission to document her tattoos. He said that she was a walking museum of her husband's genius. I'll never forget the last line of that story even though I can't remember its title. She said, “I'm not a walking museum, I'm a love letter.”

So, regardless of how you feel about tattoos I'm betting you will love Kiana Davenpot's House of Skin. Get it while it is free. The stories are mesmerizing, dark, and unforgettable.

Thanks for reading.  

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