Someone Else’s Skin is Sarah Hilary’s debut, and the first in a series featuring DI Marnie Rome and her sidekick, DS Noah Jake.
All literary detectives seem to have some kind of back story, or quirk, that gives them their own demons to face, and Marnie Rome’s is a cracker. It forms the basis of the book’s opening, and is something that DI Rome has to deal with throughout this story, which is centred on domestic abuse.
The story proper starts with Rome and Jake visiting a women’s refuge looking to convince a resident to testify against her violent brother, 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, our duo find that not everything is as it seems.
This is a fascinating book which explores a number of themes, including domestic abuse and honour crimes. It is very well written with lively and engaging characters – with DS Jake (who is black and gay) possibly the only person who does seem comfortable in their own skin. The pace runs along very nicely – at one point I thought it was about to flag when a major plot twist proved me very wrong indeed.
This is a wonderful debut from Sarah Hilary, and the tantalising first few pages from its 2015 sequel, No Other Darkness makes me think that it might just be even better!