Someone Else's Skin is Sarah Hilary's debut crime novel featuring Detective Inspector Marnie Rome.
Hilary introduces us to Rome in a crime scene involving a stabbing from five years ago - one that was personal. Fast forward to present day. Rome and her partner are heading to a women's shelter to interview a witness. But when they arrive, they walk in on a murder - a stabbing. The eight women in the shelter all saw something, but none of their stories match. Who is telling the truth? Why would anyone lie? What secrets do these women have?
Great premise, great characters. Rome is a strong female lead - smart and preferring to operate on her own terms - sometimes to her detriment. The past effects her view of the present and she often makes judgement calls with those memories colouring her decisions - not always the wisest move. Rome's partner, DS Jake is a great character as well - not a cookie cutter supporting character. He has his own back story and plays a major role in this first book
I thought I had a good inkling of where Hilary was taking her story, but she offered up more than one twist that changed the direction of the story. Her exploration of domestic abuse and our perceptions and misconceptions of this crime are thought provoking. Racism and homophobia are also up for discussion.
Hilary's writing is sharp, the dialogue believable, the investigation flawed enough to keep things moving forward and the reader interested and the final chapters are an action filled finale - all adding up to a cracking good read. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Someone Else's Skin.
In the author's notes at the end of the book, Hilary thanks her agent 'who refused to let the slush pile have me." My thanks to her agent as well - I really enjoyed this character and Hilary's writing. I'll be watching for the second in the series - No Other Darkness - due out in the UK in Spring of 2015.
You can keep up with Sarah Hilary on Facebook and on Twitter.
And thanks to the generosity of Penguin, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered. Open to continental US only, no PO boxes please. Ends August 24/14.