Cold Skin is a verse-novel set in a small coal town.
Eddie doesn't want to be in school, he wants to work in the mine. But his dad won't go down the pits and he won't let his sons go either.
Nothing much happens in Burruga, except fights at the pub. Then one friday night a dead body is found by the river and every man in town comes under suspicion. Eddie is drawn into secrets and a bitter struggle for revenge...
A chilling story of malice, power, and the courage to forgive.
They named me Eddie
after Mum's father
who died before I was born.
"A quiet, stubborn bastard",
says my dad.
I'm not sure if he’s talking about
Grandad or me.
We live near the railway tracks
beside Jamison River,
two miles out of town,
opposite the slag heap,
overgrown with thistles
and yellow dandelions.
Dad and me and my brother Larry
built our place in a real hurry
'cos we had nowhere else to live
after Grandma died
and the Wilsons took her house
before we'd had a fair chance
to say goodbye to Gran's memories.
They said it was their house
and I guess it was
because they went out and sold it.
So we packed everything on
Mr Laycock's Leyland truck
and drove it here,
where we bought some land,
no bigger than an acre,
with the last of Dad's army pay.
Larry and me set to work
dragging logs from the bush
with our horse.
Dad mixed concrete
and poured the foundations
in the hot sun
while Mum washed our clothes in the old tub,
hanging them over the wire
stretched between two poles
along the boundary to our yard.
We lived in a tent
loaned from Mr Paley, the mayor.
"Anything for a supporter."
And for six weeks
me and Larry didn't go to school.
We built this three-room log house
that looks like a squat brown toad
sitting on a rise
about to jump into Jamison River.