Today, I am excited to be sharing my review of The Skinned Man by Darren Bruce with you all.
DETECTIVE SERGEANT ANNIE BRYCE has been with the Sussex Major Investigation Team for a decade dealing with the most serious crimes. A dedicated officer who has fought back from personal tragedy, she becomes involved in a case that puts her directly in the cross-hairs of a dangerous killer. In the days leading up to Halloween, a naked body is found at low tide on a beach near Hastings, and Annie is sent to investigate. As the days pass, more bodies are found, each murder set up in a grisly tableau echoing killers of the past. Hampered by an inexperienced senior officer with a point to prove, Annie and her team are taunted by a suspect who appears to know their every move. As the investigation becomes personal, Annie must catch the killer before the next victim is murdered and displayed to the world’s media.
*A huge thank you to Darren Bruce for my copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review*
The Skinned Man doesn’t hold back any punches from the very beginning, with character introductions, and the discovery of a body which has you completely invested, ready for the whirlwind that the book is about to take you on.
Annie is a fantastic protagonist, and I loved her from the very beginning. She wasn’t prepared to let anything hold her back, and I think she really deserved to be higher up in the force than she was, especially considering she’s doing everyone else’s jobs for them anyway. Tony was also great, a brilliant officer and loyal friend, who always managed to bring some light heartedness to the dark moments.
The murders themselves were horrifically brutal, each one in it’s own unique way, but with a title like “The Skinned Man” this was exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. The set up of the murders was also very unique, and certainly not a plot line I’ve ever come across before, and this made the story much more gripping and interesting. It also made the investigations much more difficult for Annie and her team. In this aspect, the authors background experience as a retired DS really benefitted the book, and you could tell that he really knew what he was talking about.
The intensity grows as the book continues, and we begin to get a deeper insight in to the person behind the murders and the lead up to the murders themselves. The last few chapters had me completely on edge, and there was some massively heart racing and unexpected moments, which come together in an exciting climax.
The way the book ends is extremely satisfying, while also leaving the story open for another book in the series, and I can not wait to see how DS Annie Bryce’s story continues.
I give The Skinned Man a 4 star rating!
About The Author:
Darren is an award-winning retired Detective Sergeant with 26 years service, the majority spent as a detective working on major crime. His experience ranges from running pro-active drugs teams to Sexual Offence Investigation units and as an Enquiry Team Leader and Deputy Senior Investigation Officer on murder investigations in both Essex and Suffolk. These investigations have included high-profile suspects such as serial killer Peter Tobin.
He has worked as a police advisor for script writers and authors and it was as a result of this that he was encouraged to write his first novel, The Skinned Man.
Darren lives in Suffolk with his wife, two youngest children, elderly Labrador, excitable French Bulldog and two rather indifferent cats.
Get in touch to discover more about his work, life as a Detective, writing process and his future endeavours.
Disclaimer: My posts often include affiliate links, which means that I receive a small commission for any purchase made through my links, but with no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting me and my blog.