Espionage Nicci French Beneath The Skin

ISBN 13: 9780140281064

Beneath The Skin

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9780140281064: Beneath The Skin

Zoe, Jennifer, and Nadia are three women with nothing in common. Except for the man who wants to kill them. He sends them terrifying letters, full of the intimate details of their lives - the clothes they wear, their little habits, how they act when they think they're alone - and promises that he will bring those lives to a violent, horrible end.

But not before he has enjoyed himself. Invisible and apparently unstoppable, he delights in watching the women suffer, thrilled by his power to destroy their lives and their faith in those closest to them; to leave them utterly helpless, alone in their terror and confusion. But they're not all as helpless as he thinks ...

9780140131567|

“Garrison Keillor made it possible, after twenty years of black humor...to be both funny and nice, hip and winsome, scathing and loving, all in the flick of a single many-barbed quip——The Washington Post Book World

“Keillor’s literary style is as flexible and assured as his vocal delivery. It can slip mmood to mood so subtly and quickly you’re never quite sure where you are.... [His] writing has the silvery slip of running water, so graceful and easy it’s hard to believe it can carry so much that is jagged and unresolved. His integrity lies in his not smoothing away those rough edges in the swift current of his prose; they’re bruisingly, sometimes cuttingly there.” —The Village Voice

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Review:

"When she laughs, she makes a pealing sound, like a doorbell. If I told her I loved her, she would laugh at me like that. She would think I was not serious. That is what women do. They turn what is serious and big into a small thing, a joke. Love is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. One day, soon, she will understand that."

Zoe, a pretty blond schoolteacher. Jenny, a former hand model turned model wife and mother. Nadia, an irrepressible free spirit who entertains at children's parties. Three women living in different parts of London, grappling with different problems, sheltering different dreams--their lives and narratives linked only by the singular madness of a sadistic stalker. As they move slowly through the sweltering heat of summer, someone is sending these women letters that let each know she is being watched, studied, and loved from afar--even unto death.

Beneath the Skin is a spooky, highly effective psychological thriller. Initially, the women refuse, as do the police, to take the threats seriously--they are happy, they are inviolable; surely these letters are the work of a harmless crank. But the novel watches Zoe, Nadia, and Jenny move from blithely insouciant denial, to frustration, to creeping terror, and finally to the stark realization that neither they nor anyone else will prevent this killer from destroying them. French skillfully evokes the insidiousness with which the letters invade the women's lives, straining and shattering relationships, pushing each toward fearful insanity. Perhaps the novel's greatest appeal lies in its mordant irony: not only do the stalker's threats push and fester "beneath the skin," but they also draw out the flaws and terrors that are already there. French sketches the women's weaknesses and fears with merciless accuracy, stripping them naked long before the killer arrives to finish what his letters have begun.

The author's talent for psychological portraiture is, in fact, so great as to undermine, however slightly, the novel itself. We become so aware of the women, of their responses, of their needs, that the actual murders arrive as an almost superfluous intrusion. We respect the demands of the genre--a thriller needs thrills, after all--but wistfully regret the loss of the victims, even as we guiltily acknowledge our own voyeuristic culpability in their disintegration. --Kelly Flynn

About the Author:

Nicci French is a journalist and lives in Suffolk. She has written six novels, of which this is the fourth.

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French, Nicci
Published by Penguin Canada 2008-03-25 (2008)
ISBN 10: 0140281061 ISBN 13: 9780140281064
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French, Nicci
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