Under Your Skin by Rose McClelland

Published: April 27th, 2020
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Trigger Warnings: Domestic Abuse

Today is my stop on the tour for this dark thriller. Thank you to Emma at Damnpebbles Blog Tours for the invitation to take part and Rose McClelland for my gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

When Kyle’s wife Hannah goes missing, the whole town is out in force to try to find her. One person knows where she is. One person is keeping a secret.

Detective Inspector Simon Peters and Detective Kerry Lawlor have been brought in to investigate the case, but Hannah has left no traces and Kyle has no clues.

Local Belfast resident, Julia Matthews, joins the #FindHannah campaign and becomes friendly with Kyle, sympathising with his tragedy. As Julia becomes more involved in the case than she bargained for, she begins to uncover more secrets than the Police ever could.

Julia was only trying to help but has she become drawn into a web of mystery that she can’t escape?

MY REVIEW:

To o the outside world, Hannah and Kyle Greer are happily married. But when Kyle reports his wife missing, the disturbing truth beneath that shiny veneer is slowly revealed. A dark, twisted and affecting novel, Under Your Skin is an exploration of an abusive marriage and the secrets that hide behind closed doors.

At 272 pages this is a short book, but it’s the author’s gripping and atmospheric prose that made it one I devoured in just a few hours. It took me a little while to get used to the multiple narrators and how they each fit into the story, but once I did I was able to appreciate the varying perspectives that they brought to the story. All of those voices are female and the story ultimately is one of finding your inner strength and confidence. Each woman is written with authenticity. They are strong in their own way, yet filled with self-doubt and some are fractured and fragile. But they are all women you can imagine knowing and being friends with.

I loved Hannah’s chapters. Though at first I felt like the terror I was expecting from her was missing, I quickly understood and came to have a lot of empathy for her. For the first half of the book, her chapters focus on the past and tell the story of her relationship with Kyle. As the truth about what she’d endured unfolded I began to understand why she felt a kind of relief at her situation. The other character I felt drawn to was Julia. Julia is a bit of a mess. She’s isolating herself because of depression and gets involved in the search for Hannah to try and get out more like her therapist suggested, only to find herself caught up in Kyle’s twisted web.

I loathed Kyle. He was spectacularly written and I especially liked that the author didn’t give him a voice after the first chapter, instead making him someone we see only through the eyes of the other narrators. I think this was an inspired choice. It took some of his power and control away, something an abuser despises. And, though it’s fiction, I did get a kick out of the fact he never got to gaslight the reader and have the influence a man like him would want.

Complex, dark, disturbing and told with raw honesty, Under Your Skin is an absorbing thriller that examines the truth of domestic abuse with authenticity and sensitivity.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Her debut novel ‘The Break-Up Test’ received lovely reviews on Amazon including: “Rose McClelland’s voice reads like the younger sister of Marian Keyes with a more streetwise but vulnerable edge.”

She is delighted to see her second novel ‘How to Look Like You’ also published by Crooked Cat.

Rose wrote a short play which was directed by Rawlife Theatre Company and performed in The Black Box Theatre, Belfast. She writes book reviews for ‘Judging Covers’ and writes a mixture of theatre reviews and author interviews for her blog.

Rose has been writing creatively since her twenties. She started writing her first novel six years ago. Under Your Skin is her fourth book.

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