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Books That Make You Podcast

Books That Make You is a channel about all things bookish. Home to the The Books That Make You show with host Desiree Duffy of Black Chateau Enterprises. Where she discuses books with authors and experts, unraveling the inner pages of all the books that help make us who we are. BTMY also live streams bookish events as well as posting author readings and bookish contest on

Jun 30, 2021

We’re talking about Books That Make You See the Gritty World of Gang Life

With their prospect of power, money and community, gangs can be alluring, especially to young immigrants and people living in places like inner cities, where gang life can seem like the only available way of life.

Christina Hoag is a former journalist who’s had her phone tapped in Venezuela, had her computer searched by Colombian guerrillas was suspected in Guyana of drug trafficking, darted under a car to avoid Guatemalan soldiers, and posed as a nun to access a Caracas jail. She has interviewed gang members, thieves and bank robbers in prisons, slums and shantytowns, not to mention billionaires and presidents, some of whom fall into the former categories. Now she draws from such varied encounters for the personalities in her own fictional world.

Her noir crime novel, “Skin of Tattoos”, presents such a world. Drawn from interviews with street gang members in Los Angeles and San Salvador, the novel explores an immigrant family’s attempts to survive in an area where gang life seems the only opportunity waiting beyond the door.

Christina is also the author of “Girl on The Brink”, as well as a former staff writer for the Associated Press and Miami Herald. She has reported from 14 countries around Latin American for the New York Times Business Week, for Time, Financial Times, Sunday Times of London, Houston Chronicle and other news outlets.

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Skin of Tattoos

Christina Hoag