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Review: SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, Sarah Hilary

Someone Else's Skin, by Sarah Hilary. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“Gritty yet descriptive, imaginative yet never falls back on cliché”


Called to a women's refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.

Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons. Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most . . .


Okay, okay, I’m very late to discover the DI Marnie Rome series, by Sarah Hilary – but my goodness, it was worth the wait.

Each sentence has purpose and drive, whether to create evocative imagery or to push the story forward. There is no flab to this book, and it left me in awe as a writer. Sarah Hilary has a wonderful style that is gritty yet descriptive, imaginative yet never falls back on cliché. I love, too, the way that the author manages to write a detective story that is as much about the emotions of the perpetrator, and the reasons why the crime has been committed, as it is about catching the ‘bad guys’.

The pace of the novel is great, rushing breathlessly in some places, while giving it time to breath and explore beneath the characters’ skins in others. The plot itself is complex and raw, but never feels gratuitous.

Another strand of the narrative is Marnie’s own back story. Sarah Hilary expertly leaves a trail of tiny, exquisitely tasty breadcrumbs of information that are eagerly gobbled up, but leave the reader still hungering for more. The only way to get them is to read the next instalment…

I don’t have much time to read series these days, but I’ll definitely be making room for more DI Marnie Rose. If you haven’t already, I suggest you do, too!

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