Title: The Skin Code
Author: Stephen Williams
Published on: 9 June 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
Heather is walking down a dark alley when three boys follow her. They are about to attack her when she hears a woman’s voice. When the boys ask her not to interfere, she tells them she’s a detective and points them to a camera around her neck and says everything is being recorded. The leader of the gang, Luke attacks Raine (the detective) and before he could harm her grievously, he hears sirens nearby. The three boys run away, leaving Heather and Raine in the alley.
Raine is an ex-cop turned private investigator. She gives Heather her contact details and tells her she would get in touch, just to check in on her.
Detective Inspector Hume gets called to a crime scene. A victim is killed in his stylish SoHo flat. Carved into his chest are the numbers 1 4 3. The victim’s boyfriend says they had an open relationship and David (the victim) used to bring people home for one night stands. As Hume and Detective Constable Echo start investigating the case, they get a call about another body.
This time it is a vicar. He’s kneeling at the pew in his own church and once again there are numbers carved on his chest. Hume must crack the code and find the killer before it is too late. And there is only one person who can help her – Raine. Meanwhile, the killer has their eyes set on the next target…
The Skin Code by Stephen Williams is a bone-chilling, spine-numbing, gripping and absolutely engrossing thriller. We have two mysteries here – the serial killings which D.I. Hume is investigating and the mystery behind ex-cop Raine’s new client.
Heather’s parents have hired Raine to look into the disappearance of their daughter. Raine was tailing Heather when a group of guys attacked them both. Though Heather and Raine exchanged numbers, Heather ghosts Raine’s calls. Raine suspects something fishy. She asks Hume to find details about Heather. And in return, Hume takes Raine’s help to crack the code.
Raine cracks the first code all right and Hume uses Raine’s method to crack the second. The killer has already set their eyes on the third victim and time’s running out for the detectives to catch him before it is too late.
I was hooked on to the story and could not put it down until the end. I admit I was a little scared to read this at night – the gory killings and the creepy codes, thank god I did not get any nightmares. There are two mysteries and three PoVs. While Hume and her sidekick Echo are busy trying to crack the serial killer case, Raine is juggling between helping Hume and digging deeper into her client’s life.
Soon after the incident at the alley, Raine returns to find her place (she lives on a boat) ransacked and there is only one thing missing – something that is very important to her. Then we have the serial killer’s PoV and how they prepare to attack their target…
The storytelling is simply superb and the mystery keeps one guessing till the end. Excellent character portrayal and plot to story development. I loved Raine – she’s a bit of a maverick and wacko-ish. In brief, my kinda person. Then there is DC Echo – I suppose I have a teeny weeny bit of fictional crush on him. D.I. Hume – I liked her (but Raine is my favorite) and found some of her ‘distractions’ funny. Like, in the middle of a serious discussion, she asks Echo if he’s had a Vendetta Egg before…
I absolutely loved the twist at the end and I am curious to know what’s next for Raine and Hume. If you are looking for a gripping and completely engrossing mystery filled with twists, you might want to give Stephen Williams’ The Skin Code a try.
Many thanks to the lovely Hanna from Joffe Books for the ARC.