Title: Under Your Skin
Author: Sabine Durrant
Publication date: April 11, 2013
Publisher: Mulholland Books (Hodder & Stoughton)
Length: 320 pages
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
This morning, I found a body.
Soon the police will arrest me for murder.
And after that my life will fall apart.
Gaby Mortimer is the woman who has it all. But everything changes when she finds a body on the common near her home. Because the evidence keeps leading back to her. And the police seem sure she’s guilty…
Under Your Skin is an unpredictable, exquisitely twisty story, which proves that there are only three rules in life that mean anything: assume nothing, believe no one, check everything.
Sabine Durrant’s Under Your Skin is – for me, at least – one of those books that is quite hard to talk about without ruining the story and giving away too much, but I’ll try my best to find a balance.
Compared to most of the books in this genre the novel started off quite slowly and it took me some time to fully settle into the story and get used to the writing style but once I did, I could barely put it down. Contrary to what I was initially expecting, it’s not your usual police procedural book and nor it is one of those race-against-the-clock thrillers where there’s a new victim every few chapters and more blood than you bargained for. Under Your Skin starts with our main character, a London TV riporter called Gaby Mortimer, finding a dead woman’s body near her home while she’s out running one morning. The book then follows Gaby’s life and lets us take a glimpse of how this incident has affected her life and how, hard as she might, her life will never be the same. As the police are trying to collect evidence and figure out what might have happened on that fateful night, Gaby suddenly realises that every piece of evidence is leading back to her. And gradually every little thing in her life is starting to fall apart.
Although it wasn’t as much of a fast paced, nail-biting white-knuckle ride as some of the thrillers I’ve read so far, the writing and the tense, edgy atmosphere the author creates makes up for it. Durrant’s writing is so eloquent and so thorough that I couldn’t help being drawn to Gaby’s story and wanting to find out more about what happens to her. If I had to categorise this book I would probably say it’s a psychological thriller since the focus is on how these events affect Gaby and what’s going on in her head rather than on the events themselves. Also, not only does Gaby’s narration make you empathise with her but the writer’s ability to keep you on edge until the very end is remarkable and you really do feel scared for Gaby. I kept thinking ‘no, do not stay at home on your own. That is a very bad idea.’ I even got to the point where I found even her own husband suspicious and was convinced he’d kill her right there and then. You have literally no idea what’s going on, all you can feel is a calm before the storm and the fact that something bad is about to happen.
There’s a huge twist at the end which I’m not going to talk about but all I can say is, I didn’t see it coming at all. Did it shock me, though? I would say no, not as much as I think it should have. (Agatha Christie has a book with a similar ending and while that one shocked me to no end and made me go ‘how clever’ and ‘this is sick’ at the same time, I didn’t feel the same way when I was reading this one, for some reason. It came as an enormous surprise to me because as I said, I didn’t see it coming at all, and I loved the idea but it didn’t have as much of a shock factor for me as I think it should have.)
All in all I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad I picked it up, though, and I would definitely suggest that you do the same if you like psychological thrillers and books that keep you in the dark until the last chapter. Durrant has a unique captivating writing style which I absolutely loved and, despite the fact that (as much as I would love to be able to say this) it wasn’t the best thriller I’ve ever read, I’m sure I’ll read whatever the author comes up with next.
“I left the house earlier than usual this morning and though it isn’t exactly dark, it isn’t yet light. The common is full of ghosts and shadows; the trees still iron-clad, unyielding figures to the early gauze of spring; the bushes and brambles along the railway line knotted and clumped: a mugger’s paradise, though I try not to think about that.”