Saturday 4 August 2018

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent @lizzienugent @PenguinUKBooks #SkinDeep

'I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn't that what I've been doing for most of my life?'
Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.
The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent was published in paperback on 5 April 2018 by Penguin. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

This is Liz Nugent's third book, I've read and reviewed both of her earlier novels; Unravelling Oliver (March 2014) and Lying In Wait (July 2016).

Once again, this incredibly talented author has created a character who is completely and utterly unlikeable. Cordelia Russell, or Delia as she was formerly known, is a monster, plain and simple; completely bad, evil and uncontrollable, but oh my God, I loved her.

Whilst Skin Deep is undoubtably Liz Nugent through and through, it's a little different to her previous novels. Those were dark, but this one is black as a starless night, with myths and folklore woven delicately through an utterly terrifying modern-day chiller.

The reader is introduced to Cordelia as she trawls the bars of the Cote d'Azur, looking for someone who will buy her a drink, or food. We know that there's a dead body in Cordelia's flat, but we don't know who it is, or why it is there. From here, the author takes us back to Cordelia's early life, when she was Delia, the apple of her father's eye, living on a remote Irish island.

I'm not going to go into detail about the plot, why on earth would I when Liz Nugent has done such an incredible job already? However, this is a dark and threatening coming of age story featuring a character who has a core of evil, and infects everyone around her.

The author creates such a magnificent sense of place, whether it's the isolated, insular community on the small island of Inishcrann, or the ultra glamour and decadence of the French Riveria; the reader is well and truly transported.

Skin Deep is captivating, but so bloody uncomfortable. This author's intricate plotting and tension building is second to none and those characters!

Completely and utterly brilliant. I literally couldn't put this down and consumed it within a day. Liz Nugent is at the very top of her game. Highly recommended from me.

Liz was born in Dublin in 1967, where she now lives. She has written successfully for soap opera, radio drama, television plays, short stories and animation for children.

Liz’s first novel Unravelling Oliver was published to critical and popular acclaim in March 2014. It quickly became a firm favourite with book clubs and reader’s groups. In November of that year, it went on to win the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year at the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards and was long listed for the International Dublin Literature Prize 2016. She was also the winner of the inaugural Jack Harte Bursary provided by the Irish Writers Centre and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Dec 2014. Her second novel, Lying in Wait, was published in July 2016 and went straight to number 1 where it remained for seven weeks. Liz won the Monaco Bursary from the Ireland Funds and was Writer in Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco in Sept/Oct 2016. In Nov 2016, Lying in Wait won the prestigious RTE Ryan Tubridy Listener's Choice prize at the Irish Book Awards.

Aside from writing, Liz has led workshops in writing drama for broadcast, she has produced and managed literary salons and curated literary strands of Arts Festivals. She regularly does public interviews and panel discussions on all aspects of her writing.

Find out more at
Twitter @lizzienugent

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