Review: 'Someone Else's Skin' by Sarah Hilary (2014)
Detective Inspector Marnie Rome. Dependable; fierce; brilliant at her job; a rising star in the ranks. Everyone knows how Marnie fought to come back from the murder of her parents, but very few know what is going on below the surface. Because Marnie has secrets she won't share with anyone.
But then so does everyone. Certainly those in the women's shelter Marnie and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit on that fateful day. The day when they arrive to interview a resident, only to find one of the women's husbands, who shouldn't have been there, lying stabbed on the floor.
As Marnie and Noah investigate the crime further, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. Everyone is keeping secrets, some for survival and some, they suspect, to disguise who they really are under their skin.
Now, if Marnie is going to find the truth she will have to face her own demons head on. Because the time has come for secrets to be revealed...
Even though I’m a big fan of stories with happy endings and wouldn’t quickly pick up a dark and perhaps slightly depressing book if I had the choice, I can definitely enjoy a crime novel every now and again. When I found a review copy of Sarah Hilary’s debut novel ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ on my doormat (thanks to the lovely people at Headline), I have to admit I was straight away intrigued by the cover, the byline and the blurb. It promised a captivating read, and I was looking forward to being introduced to a new author!
Detective Inspector Marnie Rome has tried to pick up her life again after the horrendous murder of her parents several years ago. She has devoted herself to her work, but there are still certain things she is struggling with and trying to hide from the outside world. Together with her colleague Detective Sergeant Noah Jake she visits a women’s shelter to interview one of the abused women there, but when they arrive at the scene they find someone’s husband stabbed on the floor. As Marnie and Noah start to investigate further, it becomes clear that everyone who is involved in even the slightest way is keeping secrets from one another; secrets that will need to get out in the open if this case is to be solved.
It took me a bit of time to really get into this book. I did immediately warm to Marnie, the protagonist; what happened to her parents is absolutely horrible, and I admired her strength and determination to keep on going. The author also showed Marnie’s weaknesses, which made her an even more realistic and likeable character, in my opinion. I was also fascinated by Marnie’s colleague Noah, and together they formed an interesting duo at the centre of this case. I have to admit I wasn’t ever completely hooked by the specific case in the women’s shelter that had to be solved in this book, but I was curious to see what Marnie and Noah would find out and what it would do to them as characters.
The book deals with some serious topics like abuse, pain, and control, which made it quite a dark read. The story was fast-paced and included quite a few twists and turns which kept me guessing about the final outcome. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, because especially with crime novels this can completely ruin the reading experience. Overall, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ is a dark, compelling and chilling debut novel by Sarah Hilary with a fascinating cast of characters at its core which we hopefully will be able to come back to in the future!