SJI Holliday has been reading crime fiction since she was able to hold a book. She writes short stories and her debut novel, Black Wood was published in spring 2015. You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com.
Everyone knows how Detective Inspector Marnie Rome 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.
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...
Even though I flew through the pages, Sarah Hillary’s incredibly assured debut, Someone Else’s Skin is a difficult read. Not because it’s not well written (the language and style is quite beautiful and unique, and I put this down to Sarah’s skills as a short story writer, her ability to tell a story using the perfect words in a shorter medium) but because the subject matter – domestic violence – is a difficult one to let into your head.
Hilary has stayed away from graphic violence for the most part leaving it to the reader’s imagination, but many of the scenarios are ones that will stick in your head for a long time after you’ve stopped reading. Each of the main female characters, Ayana, Hope and Simone have experienced very different and all very shocking events – leading them to end up in a women’s’ refuge.
It’s the refuge that kicks things off in this story, when a male intruder is stabbed and left for dead – leaving DI Marnie Rome, DS Noah Jake and victim support worker, Ed Belloc to work out what’s gone on. Rome has issues of her own to deal with, having arrived home 5 years earlier to find both of her parents murdered. Her own demon is guilt – for rebelling against them and for not being there to save them – and she addresses this in unconventional ways.
Although a police procedural in the usual sense, this novel is much more of a character piece, highlighting the far reaching effects of domestic violence, and the way that the most seemingly obvious things are not always cut and dried. Each of the characters has something to offer – even Rome’s boss with his recovery from illness that makes you flip back the pages to see the point where it started. It’s this attention to detail that makes this book stand out.
The ending works perfectly, tying up most of the loose ends, but leaving just enough strands for the sequel; and I’m very much looking forward to reading about what Rome et al will be investigating next.
[Review originally published at One Word At A Time]