I received a copy of this book from Bookbridgr.com in return for an honest review........
Detective Inspector Marnie Rome has seen plenty of murder and mayhem in her life, both professionally and personally. When she is assigned a case involving an honour based crime, it brings more than she had bargained for. Herself and DS Noah Jake find themselves at the centre of an attempted murder in a women's refuge. Someone is not telling the truth and the witnesses are all abused women with plenty of experience at keeping secrets. Too many loose ends make for uneasy feelings for Marnie and she begins her search for answers.
This debut novel from Sarah Hilary is high class crime fiction. DI Rome is a new character with buckets of potential for follow up novels. Her sidekick, DS Jake, is the calmer of the two and together they are a team to be reckoned with. The partnership works really well and the reader is not given too much backround information, paving the way for further insight at a later stage.
The writing is razor sharp and the use of short sentences, throughout the novel, gives it a snappy pace that makes you want to keep turning those pages. Some hard-hitting topics make a great plot, with domestic violence, racism, homophobia and foster care all getting a look in.
The violence is described in depth and has a gritty feel without it seeming to be an attempt at shock tactics. Unfortunately, we live in a world where such violence exists and we can't hide from that fact. I did see how the story was heading fairly early on in the book, but this didn't take away any of the enjoyment. The characters are sufficiently different to avoid the usual stereotypes of the crime thriller genre; no aging alcoholic detective with an ex wife who couldn't stand being married to the job, or young rookie cop with a plan to change the ways of the police force. This is a modern novel, with a crisp approach. It would be a great TV series and I have no doubt that we will hear more from DI Marnie Rome in the near future.........
on 8 September 2014
Oh WOW! It's ages since I read a book that I literally couldn't put down, one that didn't start promisingly and peter out half way through. This was just the opposite - the first 50 or so pages were ok/good and then it just got better and better and better!
I won't give a synopsis of the story - there are plenty of reviews of that - just to warn that it could be harrowing to certain readers as it deals with abuse, self harm and sado-masochism as its central themes. However, the characters are great - I'm half in love with DS Noah Jake, want Ed for my best friend and want to slap DS Carling, hard, with a wet fish! As usual with new detective pairings the protagonist, DI Marnie Rome, has a deep, tragic past and is still tentatively building her relationship with her team. She's flawed, with deeply buried unspeakable thoughts. She is driven and we root for her, big time.
If I have any gripe at all it's the very sudden tying up of a loose thread at the end - but the rest of the book was so good it's not worth knocking a star off for.
I loved it - read it in two days - and can't wait for the next in the series which we're promised in 'early 2015. Hurrah!
Sarah Hilary’s debut novel is a very good, if fairly typical, example of the police procedural/crime thriller genre.
DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake are investigating an vicious scimitar attack in which a man lost his hand. When they go to a women’s refuge to speak to the sister of one of the suspects they encounter a man who has been stabbed through the chest by his wife (one of the residents) and soon they become embroiled in a dark web of child neglect, torture (both physical and psychologial) and domestic violence. Although not overly gory or sensational, this book is not for the faint hearted. The storyline deals with some fairly explicit and unpleasant aspects of humanity and, as you would expect with this sort of crime thriller, the plot is twisty-turny with a few red herrings subtly woven into the plot.
It’s billed as ‘Marnie Rome Book 1’, which implies that Sarah Hilary has been given the nod from her publishers to continue with the series. I’m pleased as Rome and Jake make for intriguing and likeable lead characters, both with enough skeletons in their closets to keep the readers interested for quite a few more instalments.
on 8 September 2014
Sarah Hilary came to my attention when I happened upon a guest blog post she'd written. Her advice to new writers about character development were excellent, so I looked up her novel and, on a whim, purchased it.
Once I started this novel, I couldn't put it down. I read the entire book over one weekend. It is a complex, character driven story. At first I was a little overwhelmed about some of the dark details in the crime scenes but then I thought: it's a story about crime - it has to be detailed and realistic!
This novel is extremely well written. As I said previously, it is character driven and Hilary does a superb job in providing nuance to the various situations. The story moves along at an excellent clip. It is, in the old vernacular, 'a real page turner'.
I highly recommend this novel and am really looking forward to further books from this author.
Note: I'm in Canada so I purchased my copy through Amazon.ca
on 23 August 2015
I wasn't too sure about whether Someone Else's Skin would be for me. However I'm a bit of a crime book junkie and therefore I couldn't pass up the chance at jumping on board at the start of a new series. I'm glad I did. The novel was strongly written and the back-story of the principal character gave the story a nice sub plot. The novel neatly switches the story around on the reader around halfway through and plays about with perspective in a way that is effective rather than confusing. I would suggest a similarity with Mark Billingham's Thorne Novels in terms of setting and tone, although those similarities don't extend to the principal characters who are obviously quite different. The book also has some similarities with Dead Gone by Luca Vesta which was another series opener. I have already bought the next book by Sarah Hilary and am looking forward to seeing how things develop.
on 10 September 2014
The book opens five years ago, DI Marnie Rome arrives at her parents home, cordoned off by the police. She knows it is bad, the way the scene is, the glimpses she can have from the house, the way her colleagues talk to her. Then we flick to present day, almost five years to the day it happened. The book teases the details along of what happened to Marnie's parents. But the world of crime stops for noone and she has a job to do. Arriving at a refugee house for abused women, to interview one of the woman who can help with an investigation they happen upon a bloody scene, one of the women have stabbed her partner she had fled from. Each of the women need to be interviewed, each has reason to hide, distrust and secrets are something they all have. As DI Rome tries to cope with her personal trauma and do her job, she needs to keep her wits about her to figure out what truly happened and how to solve the case.
The opening chapter pulls you in, your given enough to know something bad has happened but you don't know who done it or what they actually did. Present days packs quite a punch as one of the women meant to be kept safe has attacked her husband in self defense. There is a lot of tension within this book, the topic of abuse these women have endured is always present. It is a subject that if you have been touched personally by it the book will pack more of a punch with you. If you haven't it gives an insight into what these women endure and why they behave as they do.
I would say it is a psychological thriller, laced with crime and violence. Whilst the matter is dark and may be close to home for some readers, it is handled in a way that I feel didn't cheapen the subject but stayed true to the issues and reflected real life.
For a debut novel it packs quite a punch, I was up past 6am reading this, I could have gotten through it in one sitting had I not had other things to attend to. The chapters are nice and short which I do light in stories, it makes it easier to read more when you have other things to do in between. The time period jumps about a bit, between some of the characters although it is sign posted well enough, in parts it took a wee bit or getting used to. A great introduction to some new characters that I hope to see more of, 4/5 for me this time. I would certainly read more by this author and think Detective Inspector Rome and the other characters (especially Stephen) have some great tales still to come.
on 31 July 2015
This is an amazing novel that has justifiably deserved the great reviews and recognition it has received. In part that is due to the originality of the police investigation, the subject matter and the thrilling unsettling writing. It is a well crafted story about manipulation and control, mostly seen through domestic abuse. What makes it stand out is the various themes it tackles in this seldom reported and written about aspect of power in relationships. So the novel covers violence in Africa, abuse of position, domestic violence and parental failings, while finding space for honour based crime,sexual explortation and sadomasochism.
It has a wide appeal and is above all else an honest representation of the secrets, society often fails to acknowledge or address. But at its core are the raw emotions of fear, loss, powerlessness and revenge.
Sarah Hilary is an author who has burst onto the crime scene with this stunning book and I have no reservations in offering my complete recommendation as one of the book to read in 2015.
As someone who works in the area of DV much of the research and representation of a refuge rings true; how women can be disempowered after escaping from longstanding abusive partners. However, I am unsure if all women fleeing could only hope not to be traced if they changed their NINO. I am not aware of this practice even in MARAC cases. I found the plotting weak around the abduction of one of the women as I would expect DBS checks to prevent the incident reported in this account. This lost a star for me as along the overuse of the word skin in the narrative that occurred so frequently it jarred. I got this wonderful theme thoughout the book without the over emphasis. I loved the more subtle references in terms of cutting and tattoos.
Having said that I haven't read such a complete book in a long time where the book fully reflects its title and gives full voice to it throughout the plot.
on 26 February 2015
The story opens with DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake visiting a women's refuge looking to convince a resident to testify against her violent brothers when they find themselves in the midst of a violent crime scene. One of the other residents has stabbed her husband in full view of a number of witnesses. You would be forgiven for thinking this would be an `open-and-shut case', but as the story unfolds, is there something more sinister? Our duo find that not everything is as it seems. DI Marnie Rome also has her own hidden past and battles with her own demons to deal with over the past 5 years.
I have received No Other Darkness for review so I thought it'd be best to pick this novel up first to get to know the main character DI Rome, along with DS Jake & the rest of her team.
This is the first book by Sarah Hillary and what a debut it was, I didn't just like it, I LOVED it and it definitely didn't disappoint. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers or crime fiction books . There were a few twists in it, which I love as I was convinced that I'd worked out what had happened that day of the stabbing in the women's refuge when I was halfway through and I definitely wasn't expecting the twist.
Sarah Hillary has skillfully drawn the threads of the plot together so all the pieces fall into place but leave us with a sense of wanting more and leaves you hungry to see what happens next, especially for the strong female protagonist, Marnie. It is very well written and researched too. I am really looking forward to reading and reviewing No Other Darkness.
on 8 September 2014
Someone Else's Skin is the 'crime debut of the year', claims the back cover of Sarah Hilary's first novel. Big words to live up to indeed.
Detective Inspector Marnie Rome is brilliant at her job and a rising star in the police ranks. She has also had to fight her way back following the murder of her parents. Marnie is dependable and fierce, if only on the surface. There are secrets swirling beneath the surface that Marnie keeps firmly to herself. But secrets have a way of making themselves known.
Marnie and her partner, Detective Sargeant Noah Jake, visit a women's refuge to interview one of the residents. At the refuge, they discover the brutal murder of another woman's husband. As the duo investigate, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. In order to discover the identity of the killer and solve the case, Marnie needs to look closely at her own secrets and face her demons once and for all.
In Marnie Rome, Hilary has created a brilliant female lead character. A little flawed by events beyond her control, Marnie throws herself into work to keep herself sane. But this case comes a little too close to home. Throughout the book, Marnie comes across as dependable and highly skilled at her job, but a more vulnerable and entirely human side shows through the hard exterior at times. Utterly endearing, Marnie's character is bound to strike a chord with readers of all ages.
The author has created a brilliantly constructed series of events that test Marnie and Noah to the limit, with both detectives being sucked into the eye of the hurricane. This novel really kept me guessing with its twists and turns. Every time I thought I had sussed it out, I was pleasantly surprised by being proven wrong.
I really struggled to put this book down. I kept falling asleep and dropping the book, which woke me up so I could read just one more chapter! Apologies to my hubby and our dogs for the disturbed sleep! Someone Else's Skin grabbed my attention from the outset, pulled me in and then flung me out like a wet dishcloth at the end! Utterly enthralling.
I'm really excited about this new crime author and I'm really looking forward to reading her next novel.
Thanks to the bookbridgr team for the review copy I received in return for an honest review.
At the refuge for battered women a near fatal stabbing, DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake there by chance on another case. Instantly much to puzzle. Why is the centre so casually supervised? How was a husband able to gain access? Is all as it seems?
Bleak and briskly moving, this debut novel is full of surprises, not to mention major shocks. Throughout there is much to unsettle. Rome herself has yet to come to terms with the slaughter of her parents five years earlier, visits to the young killer in prison offering no clue why he did what he did.
Now here is someone else hard to understand: a sadistic control freak, skilfully manipulating all those around, convincingly ever playing the innocent. Despite violent acts described in detail, the main horror is mounting suspicion the culprit will wriggle off the hook yet again.
There is much psychological probing into how minds can go into such disarray. Inherited mental problems? Result of upbringing? Or simply being evil through and through?
A gripping read with final chapters full of suspense (admittedly owing much to the contrived cliche of officers investigating on their own even late at night).
Particularly pleasing is the outcome of that case being originally investigated before dramatic events intervened - a neat rounding off that totally satisfies.
This impressive novel does exactly what it set out to do. Hopefully in sequels Rome and Jake will not suffer so much, a little humour not coming amiss.