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.
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
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?