Friday book review – Someone Else’s Skin

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 28th March 2014

Sarah HilaryMuch to my surprise, I’ve become a big fan of crime fiction. Considering that I’m an out and out coward and hate anything gory, I can’t quite believe that I count the likes of Nicci French, Sophie Hannah and Mark Billingham among my favourite authors.

It all started when I started reviewing books for a national newspaper and found that I looked forward to the crime thrillers most of all. Why? Because they tend to be pacy, brilliantly plotted and keep me on the edge of the seat. Best of all, they generally have lead characters who are flawed and real and leap off the page.

Now I’ve added Sarah Hilary to my list. Her debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin, features the very impressive DI Marnie Rome, a rising star with a shocking back story. Marnie’s day to day police life (gritty to say the least) is interlaced with visits to her adopted brother Stephen, who’s serving a life sentence for the murder of their parents. Five years after their deaths she still has no idea what provoked him to commit such an appalling act.

The action starts with Marnie and DS Noah Jake being sent to interview a young woman who has been brutally attacked by her brothers. They blinded her in one eye and she’s now living in a women’s refuge. But when they arrive the pair discover a man lying on the floor with a knife through his lung. He turns out to be the husband of another woman at the refuge and they assume his wife must have attacked him in self defence.

Someone Else’s Skin features domestic violence, witness intimidation and discrimination and definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it is such a gripping story that I simply couldn’t stop reading. The dialogue is distinctive, sharp and convincing,  the story cleverly constructed. There are a myriad of twists and turns – I didn’t see the main one coming – but they are believable too.

I don’t want to give away any of the plot but trust me, if you like Nicci French’s Frieda Klein series or Lynda la Plante’s Anna Travis books (the early ones) you’ll love this. All I can say is ‘roll on the next Marnie Rome story.’

Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary (Headline, £13.99)

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