The Skin Beneath

Skin Beneath Book CoverThe Skin Beneath by Nairne Holze, Insomniac Press 2007

Reviewed by Jeanette Nelson.

The Skin beneath is like Agatha Christie gone conspiracy theorist. We are all searching for the answers in life. The answers to the question; why we are here? Who will notice if we are gone?

Sam’s sister dies. Five years after her death Sam receives an anonymous postcard that sets in motion a journey into the answers to her sister’s questions. Sam in turn finds answers to her own questions, questions she didn’t even know she had. Would Chloe have loved her if she knew her sister was gay?

Sam had never come out to her sister Chloe, but when she starts following the threads of Chloe’s life she  meets and falls in love with Chloe’s ex-roomate it changes her perspective on being lesbian. Sam goes from one night stands to wanting the dream – a real relationship; someone to come home to every night.

Set for the most part in Montreal, Sam tries to unravel the conspiracy theory that her sister was working on. It takes her to the fringes, where exist some hard core conspiracy theorists and into a world she knows nothing about how to survive in. Is this what killed her sister?

The author webs a stream of mystery and colorful characters that tell her story and answers her questions. While technically a murder mystery, the book focusses a lot on Sam’s personal journey and history with her sister, which makes for a slower pace that might appeal less to mystery genre readers looking for a more action focussed book.

The Skin Beneath by Nairne Holze, Insomniac Press 2007. Insomniac Press is a Canadian independent book publisher.

Nairne Holze is a fiction writer who lives in Montreal with her lover and miniature dogs. She co-edited No Margins: writing canadian fiction in lesbian (Insomniac, 2006), which has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. This is her first novel.