Book Review: Under My Skin

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"In Under My Skin, private investigator Hannah Wolfe's cushy new assignment takes her to the sumptuous Castle Dean health spa. While being plucked, crimped, steamed, and oiled, Hannah is ideally placed to probe some reported cases of sabotage -- fish in the Jacuzzi and steel nails in the massage heads. But spa owner Olivia Marchant has other problems besides sabotage. Someone is threatening her husband, Maurice, one of London's leading cosmetic surgeons and the man responsible for reconstructing many of the world's rich and famous. In a culture where no one wants to grow old and everyone seems to believe in the power of the knife, Hannah feels like an alien visitor. People will do anything in the name of beauty -- perhaps even commit murder."

I'm a fan of Sarah Dunant, and Under My Skin is a definite departure from her historical novels. Hannah Wolfe has a fantastic voice- part cynic, part perfectionist, and not fully in control all the time. She's the kind of flawed character that you love and admire, even when the things she says or does make you cringe. In short, she's very noir-detective.

The plot is fun, with plenty of snark and asides about modern cultural concepts of beauty. The strength here is less the twists and turns, and more the diversity of characters within it, all of whom are real and intriguing. 

The only flaw is that sometimes Hannah's statements come out of nowhere, and I have to struggle to catch up (and break out of the plot to figure out what she is referencing). That could be a flaw in the writing, or (most likely) it's indicative of a lack of sharp wit on my end. Either way, this is a fun read and one I recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery, character-driven stories, strong female main characters, noir-style stories, and British culture.

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