Meet today’s ThrillerFest 2017 debut author Christina Hoag and her new crime novel, Skin of Tattoos. Check out what she had to say about her all-time favorite thriller, and how she’d want to kill off our heroes!

BookTrib: If you were on death row, what would be your last read? And why? 

Christina Hoag: I’d want to die laughing so I think I’d choose A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd, his first novel actually. It’s one of the funniest books I’ve read and a real page turner about a hapless British diplomat in a fictional West African country. Having lived abroad and dealt with embassies and diplomats, it really resonated with me. I thought it was hilarious.

BT: If you were going to kill off your protagonist what method would you use?  And why?

CH: I’d want something super exotic and very untraceable to deepen the mystery so I’d go with venom from the phyllobates terribilis–isn’t that a great name? More commonly known as the golden arrow poison frog, it’s one of the most toxic animals on earth. It’s actually a tiny frog, two inches big, found in the humid jungle on Colombia’s Pacific coast. The venom is secreted on its skin when it gets stressed. The local Embera Indians use the venom to coat the tips of their poison darts launched through blow guns. I think it would make a fascinating murder bioweapon, especially as only a tiny drop is needed for a fatal dose.

BT: What is the all-time best thriller you have ever read? And why?

CH: Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte. It’s about 650-pages long and I just couldn’t put it down. It’s about a poor Mexican woman who goes from being a domestic violence victim to heading a major cocaine trafficking cartel handling European distribution. I liked that he chose a woman character in a very macho dominated world, which really made this novel stand out, plus the story is gripping and compelling. In general, I like books that go inside the criminal world. It’s an intriguing slice of life but I luckily for me vicarious experience suffices!

Head to Amazon to purchase Skin of Tattoos now!


Christina Hoag SKIN OF TATTOOSLos Angeles homeboy Mags is desperate to get out of gang life, but the only exit is through sacrificing everything – and everyone – he loves. He must make the difficult choice, and soon, or have it made for him. Based on extensive interviews with street gang members, this noir crime novel explores a poor immigrant family’s struggle to survive in a gritty world where gangs appear to offer youth a way out but instead ensnare them in a tangle of deceit and betrayal. Kirkus Reviews called the author “a talented writer” with “a well-crafted engaging novel … surprisingly nuanced and wholly enjoyable.”


Christina HoagChristina Hoag is a former journalist for the Miami Herald and Associated Press who’s been threatened by a killer’s girlfriend, had her laptop searched by Colombian guerrillas and phone tapped in Venezuela, hidden under a car to evade Guatemalan soldiers, posed as a nun to get inside a Caracas jail, interviewed gang members, bank robbers, thieves and thugs in prisons, shantytowns and slums, not to forget billionaires and presidents, some of whom fall into the previous categories. Kirkus Reviews praised Christina as a “talented writer” with a “well crafted debut” in Skin of Tattoos (Martin Brown Publishing, 2016), a noir crime novel. Her YA thriller Girl on the Brink (Fire and Ice, 2016) was named to Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2016 YA list. She also writes nonfiction, co-authoring Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence (Turner Publishing, 2014), a groundbreaking book on violence intervention used in several universities. Christina makes her home in Los Angeles.