Michael James Rizza - a fast-paced narrative, cool language, downtrodden characters, and addictive intrigue. He writes with dark high-energy and philosophical flair about his nervous anti-hero on a self-destructive quest.

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Michael James Rizza, Cartilage And Skin, Starcherone Books, 2013.

Its cityscape dark with philosophy and violence, voyeurism and intrigue, readers won't be able to put this debut novel down.

DR. PARKER, a lonely, scholarly man, moves into a nondescript city apartment house, befriending there a vagrant boy who runs errands for him, to the dismay of his landlord. Parker also soon arouses the suspicions of the secretive woman who lives in the next apartment and a man who mails her packages. Soon, a fast-paced, tension-filled, and multi-faceted plot has unfolded, with Parker inadvertently digging himself into deeper difficulties with both his acquaintances and "the authorities." Violent and introspective by turns, Cartilage and Skin is an unlikely page-turner, at once creepy and enticing.

"Cartilage And Skin is an astonishing debut novel, uncompromising, dark, part Dostoevsky, part Camus. It's a brilliant journey into the underside of the unconscious with no holds barred."– JOAN MELLEN


"Cartilage and Skin has it all: a fast-paced narrative, cool language, downtrodden characters, and addictive intrigue. Rizza writes with dark high-energy and philosophical flair about his nervous anti-hero on a self-destructive quest. The story shifts with every page, never losing momentum, always surprising us. Fascinating, ferocious reading." – DEB OLIN UNFERTH, in selecting the 9th Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction

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