Literary Fiction

Skin Deep – Liz Nugent

17 October 2018
Skin Deep Book Cover Skin Deep
Liz Nugent
March 29, 2018

The deliciously sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Richard and Judy Book Club pick, Lying in Wait '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 . . . 'Bloody brilliant!' Denise Mina 'The finest psychological thriller writer currently at work - no one gets under the skin of monstrous characters like she does' Tammy Cohen 'A wonderful feat of imagination, totally gripping, with a fascinating character at its heart' Sabine Durrant 'Dark, brutal and brilliant' Colette McBeth 'A triumph, from first page to last!' Sarah Hilary 'Monumentally good. Liz Nugent is a beautiful writer and among the very best storytellers in the world' Donal Ryan 'I loved, loved, loved Skin Deep - the compassion of it, the beauty of the language, how glamour and horror intersect, how the tension twists tighter and tighter and is brilliantly done' Marian Keyes 'Dazzling ... chilling, mesmerising and, ultimately, devastating. Pure storytelling genius' Mark Edwards 'Her darkest book yet - a compelling one-sitting read' Sinéad Crowley 'Utterly gripping, fast paced, and featuring my favourite sociopathic female character since Lady Macbeth' Louise O'Neill 'Incredibly dark, twisting and utterly mesmerising - you will not be able to put this down' Sinéad Moriarty 'Pitch dark and thrillingly original' Jane Casey 'Bloody hell, what a story! Brilliant, high octane stuff' Kit de Waal


Beauty is only Skin Deep! But to what extent can it mask the evil that lies beneath?

Skin Deep is a breath-taking, expressive and ultimately heart-breaking novel. The title reflects on the ever-increasing preoccupation we have on image over substance. The story portrays the lack of normal intermutual human relationships, camouflaged by a pretty cover.

“I knew this wasn’t normal. I knew that I wasn’t normal. I have never needed people, just the comforts they could offer me”

Narrated through the eyes of Delia, the story is a lifelong revelation of manipulative actions and motives from a stunningly beautiful, contriving, narcissistic woman. In Delia’s mind, instilled by her father, she was the Queen of Inishcrann and the world was her oyster. From Ireland to London, to Nice and Monaco, Skin Deep is a roller coaster of a ride from opulent extravagant highs, to brutal destitute lows. You travel on this journey with Delia, not as a willing empathetic companion but as a captivated and often shocked observer. It is a potent, disturbing portrayal of how one human being can manipulate others to the point of their destruction with no remorse.

The characterisation, dialogue and landscape are superbly depicted, and you are propelled through this psychological story, thanks to the wonderful writing of Liz Nugent. The pace and edge to the story are maintained to the final page, with a shocking and upsetting final surprise.

Whether you really wanted to remember Delia or not, she is a character that you’ll not easily forget and she will sit uncomfortably in your mind for a while after finishing this book.

Many thanks to Penguin Books UK and NetGalley, for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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