Monday, November 17, 2014

Under your skin by Sabine Durrant

A few years ago I read a wonderful little novel The Great Indoors which I loved and recommended to friends. Now I’ve found that the author of this little novel has turned her talents to writing a thriller.   How could I not read it?

In Durrant’s latest novel we are off to London, England where we enter the life of morning television co-host, Gaby Mortimer.  Gaby has it all, or seems to.  A wonderful high-profile job, a handsome and very successful husband, a darling eight-year-old daughter, a ritzy South London address, and live-in help.

Then, one pre-dawn morning in early spring Gaby goes out to the common near her house for her daily run. When during her run she discovers the body of a dead young woman – her life is irrevocably changed. In her shock she touches the girls hair and clothing.  A few days later these factors and other physical evidence lead the detectives to arrest her!   Gaby’s shock, dismay and panic at being arrested are palpable.  With her husband in Singapore on a business trip she has no one to support her during this trying time.  After thirty-six hours pass, with nothing other than circumstantial evidence the police have to release her.  One would think that was the end of Gaby’s nightmare, but no…. her nightmare is only just beginning.   It turns out that the dead woman (who resembles Gaby physically) has been wearing Gaby’s clothes!  The police said that she was at Gaby’s house to interview for the position of nanny – but Gaby has no recollection of such an interview.  And the nightmare goes on….

Marta, Gaby’s present nanny is a cold, uncommunicative women from Poland.  Gaby hired her the week her mother died, when she was emotionally vulnerable.  Gaby’s husband, Philip is increasingly distant and Gaby fears for the future of her marriage. To further enhance Gaby’s torment, the television studio seem to have cut their ties to her.  Her beloved job seems to be a thing of the past.  Also, she is being stalked!  The police detective inspector that arrested her seems to have her in his sights as the most likely murderer and seems to be lurking every time she leaves the house. Then, just when it seems Gaby has no support, she meets an investigative journalist who seems to be on her side.  They meet on several occasions and he seems to believe in her innocence. I’m not sure how the title Under Your Skin factors in however.

I would love to hear what other readers think in this regard.  Is it that Gaby herself “gets under your skin”?  The meaning of the phrase is to irritate someone.  Does Gaby irritate the reader?  Perhaps it refers to DNA evidence?  I’d love to hear the author’s reason for choosing the title.

Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant fairly drips with tension.  Masterfully constructed with Gaby as narrator, the novel is a page-turner in the truest sense.  This psychological thriller is everything you want in a novel.  Good characterization, tight plot, red herrings and a surprising and disturbing ending.   Highly recommended!

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