DI Jack Caffery and police diver Flea Marley are back to help solve another mystery. Skin takes place less than a week after Hayder's previous Caffery/Marley book Ritual. The two characters are still trying to get over the disturbing things they saw at their last crime scene when they are called to find the missing wife of a celebrity. While Marley does a dive to try and find her body, Caffery gets sidetracked with a suicide that just doesn't feel right. After following up with the medical examiner, Caffery starts treating the case as a murder but questions whether it has anything to do with the case Marley and he were working on earlier in the week.
After not finding the celebrities' wife in the grotto, Marley heads home and is forced to deal with her brother's mess after a drinking and driving incident. There's a real question of right vs wrong and how far Marley can push her moral boundary. I got quickly wrapped up in Marley's story, which I found to move much quicker than the case Caffery was working on.
True to Hayder style, this book was a page turner. While Hayder usually writes stories that make your skin crawl, Skin was tamer than usual and would appeal to a wider audience.
There was a two book phase where Caffery became really weird and I wasn't sure if I liked him anymore or not but he seemed to be back on track this novel. He's a smart guy and isn't the typical 'do-gooder' that other fictional detectives are. Caffery has his flaws and grapples with his history constantly.
All of the previous Caffery novels I've found could stand alone, but the reader would benefit from having read Ritual before reading Skin. The case from Ritual is mentioned and some of the suspects from that case make re-appearances in this novel.
As always, I'm looking forward to Hayder's next novel!
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First Line: "Human skin is an organ."