Skin Deep by Liz Nugent – extract

Liz Nugent is the author of Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait. Her latest novel, Skin Deep, was published by Penguin on 15 November 2018.

Today Penguin have allowed me to share an extract from the book with you. Liz Nugent knows how to open her novels with a killer line and this extract shows that Skin Deep is no different.

I wondered when rigor mortis would set in, or if it already had. Once I had cleared away the broken glass and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out. I inched my way past it, past him, and locked myself into the bathroom. I showered as quickly as I could. The cracked mirror above the sink reflected my bloodshot eyes and my puffy skin. I applied make‑up with shaking hands and dried my hair. I emerged from the bathroom but could not avoid looking at the huge corpse slumped on the floor. I forced myself to be calm. I grabbed the first thing in the wardrobe that came to hand. My silk cashmere dress had worn thin with use, but it was the best thing I had. I needed to leave my flat. I couldn’t think straight with him lying there, a blood‑soaked monster.

I negotiated my way down the narrow, cobbled streets to my favourite cafe on the promenade, stopping off to buy cigarettes. I bought a demitasse and drank it with trembling hands, watching the tourists absorbed by their phones and their maps, ignoring the beauty of the Mediterranean just across the road.

I had twenty‑five euro in my bag, all I had left until my next maintenance payment. It wasn’t enough to run away.

Something will happen, I told myself, someone will be able to help. I needed to be calm. To pretend. I was good at pretending. It was midday already, and the October sunlight was strong. Too bright for me. The world was too bright for me. I decided to walk the promenade. I’m bound to meet somebody I know, I though. Someone will turn up and keep me company. I don’t have to tell anybody. But a solution will reveal itself. It must. For the first time in decades, my thoughts turned to God. I wished that I believed. I needed some divine intervention.

About the book

‘I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.

The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . .

About the author

Before becoming a full-time writer, Liz Nugent worked in Irish film, theatre and television. In 2014 her first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was a Number One bestseller and won the Crime Fiction Prize in the 2014 Irish Book Awards. Her second novel, Lying in Wait, went straight to Number One in the Irish bestseller charts, remained there for nearly two months and won her a second IBA. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I enjoyed this – it came out in Ireland early this year. Delia is a great lead character!


    1. janetemson says:

      Liz knows how to write unlikeable characters!


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