ISBN: 9780593048221
Publisher: Bantam Press
Published: 2009
382 pgs

Skin is actually Mo Hayder's fouth installment of her Jack Caffery series, featuring a brooding yet charismatic DI who is still haunted by an event of his past (if you follow Mo Hayder's previous series, you would know what I am referring to). Nevertheless, Skin can be read as a stand-alone but I would recommend you to read Ritual first before jumping into this story because there are a few things that are loosely linked to Ritual.

Anyway, this story begins when a decomposed body of a young woman is found near a railway track outside Bristol in May. All clues indicate her death as a case of suicide, but Jack thinks otherwise. There are some brief mention of a mysterious man who likes skinning animals and is very much obsessed by skin in general (in particularly to human skin) thus naturally I linked this two together. But there is something more, Jack feels something is tailing him and for the first time, he feels scared. Back in the previous installment, Ritual, there is a mention of the African folklore and the belief that made some people do some unimaginable stuff. But the most memorable character is a baboon-like creature (the tokoloshe) and why this continues to haunt Jack. He is sure the team had missed someone out from the arrest and he is not sure if the tokoloshe has something to do with the victim.

Police diver Flea Marley is working alongside Jack. Flea lost her parents to a diving accident a while back and she has slowly come to terms with the loss. She is not sure where her relationship with Jack is leading, but she is not pushing and neither is Jack. Just when I figured nothing could get more complex that this, there is a disappearance case of a woman and this is the part where I think is totally unbelievable. Initially, I thought Misty, the woman might be another victim of the 'suicide' case but it turned out she is hit and run over by someone none other than Thom, whom is a younger brother of Flea. Apparently, Thom was drunk and Flea did not know any about this until she smelt something bad inside her car. She had coaxed and begged Thom into confessing, but either he is scared or he is manipulated by his girlfriend, no one knew. I was totally flabbergasted by Flea's actions when she finds all means to hide and to keep the already decomposed body the way it is to prevent further deteriorating.

But what is worse is someone had captured a shot of the accident (though that person assumed it is more like a deer than a human being hit) and Flea must get that picture at all costs. Meanwhile, Jack is hard at work looking for more clues and has found something valuable to the case, but unfortunately someone has gotten a step ahead of him. Both of these add up to the climax of the story and I just could not do anything but to finish reading the remaining of the book. Though the 'suicide' case is neatly wrapped up in the end, I feel there are still some issues left unresolved and I would like to see them all clearly explained in the next series. I would also like to see Jack and Flea into a relationship; both of them are interesting characters and I could just feel their sparks they have for each other whenever they are together but they are just too meek to say anything aloud.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know I am a huge fan of Mo Hayder, and it is not surprising as this author writes the most complex, darkest and scariest crime thrillers I have ever read. And the villians she created are so out of the norm and chilling, but the best of all is I like how her next novel never fails to surprise me. She is one of those authors that makes me buy their books the moment they are released, never mind if it is a hardcover or not.
10 Responses
  1. JessicaLeigh Says:

    I've never read any of her books, but they sound thrilling and terrifying! And also very complex. :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I may have to check out this series sometime.

  2. Melody Says:

    Jessica - They are, Jessica! I'd recommend Tokyo (aka The Devil of Nanking) if you don't want to read the series first. That book is a stand-alone and it's excellent IMO.

  3. Ana S. Says:

    Hm..different from my usual kind of read, but the bit about African folklore got me curious!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    The first time I read about this author was on your blog Melody. This books sounds absolutely fascinating. I would love to snuggle with a good crime thriller right now. I'll put rituals on my wishlist and then this.

  5. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I read The Devil of Nanking, which blew me away and sort of freaked me out at the same time, and I knew I needed to read more from this author. I haven't yet, probably just because I get so caught up in my lists and reading challenges. But I will. I am making a note to myself right now!

  6. Jane Says:

    You are the one that got me started on Mo Hayder! The last one I read was Pig Island, pretty gruesome. This one looks good too!

  7. Melody Says:

    Nymeth - The African folklore mentioned is a scary one, but nonetheless it adds up the intrigue to the story.

    Violet - I'm glad you're adding Ritual to your reading list! I can't wait to hear what you'll think of this author!

    Sandy - I loved that book! I think it's the best book by Mo Hayder so far.

    Jamie - I'm so glad to get you started on this author, Jaimie! :P I agree Pig Island was pretty gruesome; I think readers would either love or hate that one.

  8. Julia Says:

    Was expecting it to be 5 stars, since you raves about this book so much *grin* But I guess we can't always have 5 stars on every books right? ;)

    Great review and it seem like a good book. One day I will try reading Mo's books :)

  9. The Bookworm Says:

    great review, I need to read Mo Hayder.

  10. Melody Says:

    Julia - There are some scenes that I wasn't quite convinced thus that explains the 4 stars. ;P

    I'm hoping you'll try to read Mo's books soon!

    Naida - Thanks! I hope you'll enjoy it if you get to it.

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