Book Review: Mark Del Franco’s Skin Deep

Posted November 25, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mark Del Franco’s Skin Deep

Skin Deep

on July 28, 2009 and has 304 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Laura Blackstone urban fantasy series revolving around a druidess operative in Washington D.C.

This is based on the same culture and fey/elvish courts as in Del Franco’s Connor Grey series, but not the same characters, and I believe these events take place earlier than the Connor Grey series.

My Take

As political as the Connor Grey series, it has a more personal feel to it. Laura Blackstone is very D.C. political. Rather hands-offish. Her particular schtick is the three characters she has created to cope with all the wheeling and dealing she does in D.C. on behalf of the Guild. Very secret-agentish.

Nice work filling in most of everyone’s background history. Del Franco gave me just enough to feel like I have a handle on it and leaving out just enough that I want to read the next story to fill in more background.

While I felt detached from the characters, Del Franco brought some warmth in toward the end and I’ve already ordered up Face Off.

The Story

As Laura, she’s working fast and hard to get ready for a major reception at the Archives exhibit featuring the 1914 Treaty of London along with a number of fey documents, letters, and film footage from the early days. Senator Hornbeck keeps trying to shoehorn Blume into the speaking line-up.

As Janice, she’s neck-deep in a botched SWAT operation with the powers-that-be trying to pin the blame on her. The concussion she suffered has impaired her memory, but someone out there isn’t taking any chances. They keep trying to kill her.

As Mariel Tate, she can just about go anywhere and do anything she likes.

Laura has been careful about keeping her different identities separate, but just not enough as she experiences several people making connections and InterSec gets a new agent.

It all comes to an explosive start when a hidden paragraph comes to light. It’s a betrayal and war may erupt.

The Characters

Laura Blackstone is the public-relations director for the Fey Guild in Washington D.C. Saffrin Corril is her brownie assistant with a truly phenomenal recall of everything in Laura’s wardrobe. She’s also Janice Crawford, a druidess with some minor powers who is a backup officer for SWAT. She’s also Mariel Tate, a hot-looking, very powerful Old Fey. She shares an office space and an assistant, Liam Wilson, with Genda Boone, a Danann fairy.

SWAT includes:
Captain Aaron Foyle, Salvatorre Gianni, Gabrio Sanchez, Jonathan “Jono” Sinclair, a cop with important secrets, and Corman Deegan is the Druid out sick that night.

Lawrence Scales is the FBI supervisor handling Sanchez.

InterSec includes:
Terryn macCullen, Laura’s superior and an Inverni fairy who is the unclaimed underKing for his clan. He refuses to accept the crown as it would be seen as his having received it from Maeve. He’s living with Cress, a leanansidhe who has control of her essence sucking requirements and works as a medic.

Donor Elfenkonig is the Elvenking in Germany. Guildsmaster Orrin ap Rhys was a part of the team who created the Treaty of 1914. Resha Dunne is a merrow and the Solitary representative on the Guild board of directors. Laura hasn’t much respect for him in the beginning, but events along the way start her re-thinking this.

Senator Hornbeck is anti-fey and is on the Fey Relations Committee. Tylo Blume owns a private security firm, Triad Global, and has some questionable allies. He also owns the Vault which hires a number of police officers as security. Simon Alfrey is an Inverni fey with a background of wheeling and dealing.

Convergence is a catastrophic event in the early part of the 1900s that most believe began in Faerie and caused parts of Faerie to merge with our world. The Guild is a diplomatic embassy for High Queen Maeve of the Seelie Court in Tara, Ireland. It’s also a working police force for magic-related crimes, including InterSec, the International Global Security Agency which is staffed by the fey and governments of other nations.

The Cover and Title

The background is a colorful sunset behind the Capitol building with Laura in a black suit and a very fitted white blouse, open to below her bra and displaying a generous cleavage as well as a lovely emerald pendant. her blond hair blowing in the breeze, she holds an essence ball in her right hand, ready to throw.

The title encompasses the three personas Laura plays as well as the realization that this is the depth of her life, it’s only Skin Deep.


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