I read about Someone Else’s Skin, Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, on Twitter and pestered publicist Sam Eades to please, please, please send me a review copy. She did and I was so eager to get my hands on the book that I even asked her a few times about it. So, sorry Sam for being so persistent. Now, having read the book, I’m also sorry to say that it was totally worth it. I would have fought even harder to get it!
Some secrets keep you safe, others will destroy you…
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…
Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary is a great novel, even better than it sounds. For everything that I had heard, I knew that I would need time to read it, because it sounded just like the type of novel that I love. And I was right! Both characters and themes make Someone Else’s Skin an addictive novel.
Marnie Rome, Detective Inspector, is a young, career-minded woman who has gone through a lot. Her past haunts her while she tries to prove the world and herself that she is fine, because, how could she not? “A career bitch, Welland’s golden girl” are just two of the things that she and her colleagues think despite having proved to be an extraordinarily talented DI. As the novel progresses, the reader gets to know her and her secret, because “keeping secrets is empowering, even if you are the one getting hurt”. The author makes an amazing job at showing how Marnie’s life affects her body. We tend to take our body and everything related to it for granted, but traumas and everyday life leave traces in both our minds and our bodies and Hilary makes us pay attention to that.
Regarding the crime Marnie investigates, I think it is one of the most complex that I have ever read. Do not be confused, it is not difficult to understand or follow, but I think good crime fiction explores society’s darkest secrets and problems. Sarah Hilary tackles some of those problems that we all live with, but had not been inscribed in such depth in crime fiction before. I recently complained about the lack of diversity in crime fiction regarding sexuality and the crimes that are investigated. Hilary’s debut novel came to prove me wrong. Marnie deals with domestic violence, how racism and colonialism are still alive in Britain nowadays, sexism, motherhood and parenthood, body issues, rape and, above all, how we see and react to those problems. Someone Else’s Skin is also a novel about secrets and how they are born. Why do we keep secrets? Why do we have the need to keep them?
So, I would totally recommend Someone Else’s Skin to any crime fiction fan. It makes a great reading and it goes beyond what you expect in crime fiction, or rather, what we have grown accustomed to expect. Meanwhile, Sarah Hilary is already writing the next novel in the series and there is a rumor going around about a Marnie Rome TV series. Do we need to say more?