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Under the Skin

Under the Skin, November 2013
Ritual Crimes Unit #1
by E. E. Richardson

Abaddon Books
Featuring: Claire Pierce
99 pages
ISBN: 178108257X
EAN: 9781781082577
Kindle: B00GBFF6KM
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"Deliciously Dark Paranormal Mystery Novella Packs a Huge Wallop"

Fresh Fiction Review

Under the Skin
E. E. Richardson

Reviewed by Diana Troldahl
Posted November 23, 2013

Paranormal Mystery

Flashes of dark humor glint above a pulse-pounding search for an horrific murderer in this first in the new Ritual Crime Unit series. E. E. Richardson's urban fantssy police procedural sweeps you into the world of Claire Pierce, 54-year-old DCI in charge of the northern Ritual Crimes Unit as she uses her time-honed skills to track the suspect despite a mysterious government agency getting in her way.

With the novella length (99 pages) the fast pace is a necessity but unlike other novellas I've read, the story does not seem rushed, but exhilarating. I loved the main character, Claire. She is a middle-aged slightly overweight woman whose skills are those of a determined and experienced career cop. She and her silver hand cuffs face off against powerful magic-using criminals with little more than her sharp mind and the refusal to give up.

The other members of her team have little page room but large impact, as Richardson has the enviable talent to sketch in a memorable character with a few broad strokes. There's a lot of possibility for further books in the series, which is all to the good as my taste has been whetted for more of DCI Pierce. The delicious last-minute twist woke me from the satisfaction of the story's conclusion and has me panting for the book two.

E. E. Richardson has written eight young adult horror novels. UNDER THE SKIN is her first story aimed at adults. I'd say her aim is dead on.

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Learn more about Under the Skin


A tough, hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing, DCI Claire Pierce of North Yorkshire Police heads Northern England’s underfunded and understaffed Ritual Crime Unit. Unregarded by the traditional police, struggling with an out-sized caseload, Pierce is about to tackle her most shocking case so far.

Following reports of unlicensed shapeshifters running wild in the Dales, DCI Pierce leads a failed raid to capture the skinbinder responsible. While the dust is still settling, a team from Counter Terrorism turns up and takes the case off her.

Pursuing the case off the record, she uncovers something murkier and more terrible than she suspected. Has her quarry achieved the impossible and learned to bind human skin?

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