Review - Someone Else's Skin, Sarah Hilary
Right from the commencement of SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN there's something extremely engaging about the protagonist DS Marnie Rome. Arriving at her parent's house, five years earlier, to the sight of ambulances and police outside, and the news that her parents are dead inside, it's not hard to feel the shock that she is experiencing. Made even more harrowing by knowing she's a cop / she's been at this sort of scene many times before. Instantly this author has established a central character who is human, struggling with an awful event in their own life, capable of empathy for victims and families. There's real skill in the way that this scenario has been set up. Rather than telling the reader all about Rome, instead there's a short / sharp demonstration of what happens when it's your own, and the reader is pulled from there, straight into current day.
Now Rome is a DS and she and her partner DS Noah Jake are trying to get a statement from a young girl hiding from her family in a women's refuge. The CPS want her to tell what she knows about her brother's involvement in an assault, whilst the threat from her brothers remains very real. Things at the shelter quickly go pear-shaped when Rome and Jake arrive to find another resident's husband dying from a stab wound, a lurking presence watching the shelter, and women who start disappearing from there.
In many ways (good) SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN is a classic police procedural with a team working an investigation. It's set within a realistic world where culture collision is increasingly common, and there's enough background to give the reader a reasonably good sense of place. The characterisations particularly appeal, each are vividly drawn, even when quickly encountered, and the central two are strong, flawed, realistic cops. Rome, especially, is a great character because she's got that added empathy from her own background, and the vulnerability that comes from struggling, 5 years on, to come to terms with the murder (and murderer) of her own parents.
Best part of all - SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN was originally released in 2014, and has now been followed by NO OTHER DARKNESS (2015) and TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016). Nothing like a new series to get your teeth into.
Called to a woman'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 . . .