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Skin Deep

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  5,418 ratings  ·  637 reviews
'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 shoc
Paperback, 373 pages
Published April 5th 2018 by Penguin Ireland
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Lisa This may sound like a weak answer but perhaps the reader is being called upon to come up with their own idea of what she looks like. Put your idea of …moreThis may sound like a weak answer but perhaps the reader is being called upon to come up with their own idea of what she looks like. Put your idea of beauty on this character, in other words.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Daniel Behan Hi, no I don't think it was intentional, they had her tied up for a few days beforehand so I'd say they planned it then but not over the years. Stunni…moreHi, no I don't think it was intentional, they had her tied up for a few days beforehand so I'd say they planned it then but not over the years. Stunning book but I would have added at the very end, as she was abandoned on the island, that she could "see" her Dad in the ruins of their old family house and he would hold her again! Weird I know but I was struck by the relationship between the two.(less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,418 ratings  ·  637 reviews

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Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Liz Nugent serves up an atmospherically chilling, macabre and twisted psychological thriller that illustrates with perfection that beauty really is only skin deep with her creation and character study of the appalling, monstrously repellent Delia. Nugent has few peers when it comes to writing about obsession and the nastiest of characters with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, whilst having the reader hypnotically mesmerised, fascinated and horrorstruck, gripped by the need to know how the traj ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To what extent can beauty mask the evil that lies beneath?

Skin Deep is a breath-taking, expressive and ultimately heart-breaking novel. The title reflects on the ever-increasing preoccupation we have on image over substance. The story portrays the lack of normal reciprocal human relationships, masked by a pretty cover.
“I knew this wasn’t normal. I knew that I wasn’t normal. I have never needed people, just the comforts they could offer me”
Narrated through the eyes of Delia, th
Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
Merry Christmas to me....Merry Christmas to me... Yes I finally did it! I have been not so patiently waiting for Skin Deep to hit the shelves here in the United States. I admit, I am a bit of a book snob and I wanted to have a shiny hardback to sit next to my other two Liz Nugent books. I could take it no longer! I had to order a copy from Book Depository...anyways.....that is why I have not read this book until just now! The perfect Christmas gift to myself!

Who is Cordelia Russell? I will tell
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Startlingly vivid and Original. This is a tormented tale of obsession and murder that I found utterly compelling and beautifully written.

This is Liz Nugent's third Novel and she is certainly an author who deserves her place amoung the top thriller writer's as this is a throughly engrossing and well thought out psychological thriller and I enjoyed every moment spent in this chilling and athmospheric tale.

First of all the character of Delia is dislikable but memorable and the initial setting of th
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's a good thing that Liz Nugent lives in Ireland because I can totally see myself pulling an Annie Wilkes on her.
Be afraid, Liz, be very afraid.

I only discovered Liz Nugent a month ago and I have now read all three of her books. Wellllll...not really read, more like devoured.

Skin Deep has yet to be released in the US and is not available in eBook form so I had to hunt it down, eventually finding it at bookstore in the UK and patiently impatiently waiting for it to arrive.
Elyse  Walters
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I wanted to live a life with open sky and the sound of waves to soothe me to sleep. I wanted isolation”.

I LOVE LIZ NUGENT!!!!!! love her - love her - love her.....
I’m still in a mind spinning!!!!
All of Nugent’s books are terrific... but this third one - tops them all!!

Cordelia Russel is a dangerous commodity....
Irish? English? French?
She’s a fascinating Chamaeleon!!

I’m dying to discuss this book with readers who have read it!!!!


5+ stars

Liz Barnsley
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skin Deep is genuinely amazing. A truly memorable psychological character study.

It is a difficult one to review if I’m honest – the basis of the tale is simply the story of one woman and those whose lives she enters and leaves, but it’s impact on you is subtle, immeasurable and difficult to describe. Beauty may indeed only be “Skin Deep” but what lies beneath the surface is fascinating, absorbing and taken apart by the author in amazingly clever and intelligent ways.

The writing is beautiful, ful
Ova - Excuse My Reading

Oh dear...This book started with such promise, then turned into a nightmare for me. I was hooked to the story nearly half of the book and then it started getting really weird and uncomfortable.
I finished it just to finish and get over with it, very tempted to DNF as I was absolutely upset and disgusted. I honestly think some books should have been flagged as upsetting, like the movies have ratings of content violence, abuse etc.

I have read Liz Nugent before and I liked her other book (Lying in W
Katie B
4.5 stars

I absolutely adore Liz Nugent. All three of the books I have read by her have been fantastic. A completely underrated author and if I have to start shouting from the rooftops to get more people to read her books, I will!

So the book starts off with you finding out something terrible has happened in the present time and then you go back and get to see everything that led to it. In this case, a woman who appears to be down on her luck has a slight problem on her hands. You see there's a de
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent is a highly original psychological thriller which centres around the most cold-blooded, unfeeling and damaged individual I’ve ever come across!

After the opening pages show a blood-soaked body, and a panic-stricken observer, we go back to the beginning to a small Irish island named Inishcrann where Delia lived with her parents and brothers; through to the beauty of the French Riviera, where Delia was Cordelia Russell. Living and deceiving everyone she came in contact with
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my first Liz Nugent Book & all I can say is what an author she is, Skin Deep was very atmospheric being set in Inishcrann on the French Riviera thought I was there the prose follows Delia's life from a child till now & she was one sick twisted self absorbed without any empathy for anyone.

At first I didn't know where this was going but about a quarter way through I worked it all out there was a murder in the opening that is so disturbing it chilled me to the core, and a lot of folklore h
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my first taste of a Liz Nugent book and found this psychological thriller an addictive read that left me wanting to read more of her work. I found this book strangely captivating and although non of the characters were appealing or likeable in the slightest, I just had to read on.
There is nothing to like about the lead character Cordelia Russell, she is cruel, selfish and ruthless but her story is intriguing. A well written novel that is thought provoking and different from a lot of book
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
“I wondered when Rigor Mortis would set in, or if it already had.”

This is the opening line of Liz Nugent’s third novel. As always, her opening lines are meant to shock us, and pull us right into the story...

Having enjoyed “Unraveling Oliver” (a strong 4 stars for me) and Lying In Wait (a 5 star favorite, this year), I decided that for Christmas, I would order a copy of this book, which was released in Ireland and the U.K. this April, because I just did not want to wait for the U.S. release...

Louise Wilson
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cordelia (Delia) Russell's luck is running out. She is desperate, her flat is grotty and reality is grim. Delia spends a night at a glittering party. She stumbles home through the backstreets at dawn. Before she opens her door, she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn'ttaken long for the corpse in her bedroom to start decomposing......

Delia Russell is an appalling, manipulative and obessive character. We learn about her childhood on an isolated Irish Island, her domineering father, through to her
Adrian Dooley
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a ride! I feel both dirty and enthralled after spending the last 370 odd pages with (Cor)Delia Russell. A both enthralling and repulsive novel at the same time.

The whole story follows the life of Delia Russell from a young age to her middle age. Growing up on a remote island off the West coast of Ireland, she comes from a dysfunctional family where her father obsesses and adores her while ignoring his sons completely. He tells her folklore tales of the islands past and how one day she w
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed Liz Nugent’s previous novels, “Unravelling Oliver,” and “Lying in Wait,” and so was looking forward to her new book. It begins with us being introduced to Cordelia (Delia), a middle aged woman living on the Côte d'Azur. Delia was famed for her beauty, but she is now ageing, she drinks too much and her life is complicated by the corpse currently dead in her apartment…

During this novel, we hear the story of Delia’s life; from her childhood on an isolated, remote Irish island, with h
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love a bookish baddie. You know the kind. Self-centered, narcissistic, just hateful in general. Well, yet again, Liz Nugent has created a truly terrible fictional human being in Cordelia Russell. Right from the beginning of Skin Deep I found myself disliking her as a character.

But. And there is definitely a but. When we are taken through Cordelia’s early life, the reader learns why she is the way she is. No excuse, I know, but it is a very insightful and eye-opening character development that
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ah, what to say about Liz Nugents new novel? Well, "Skin Deep" is a memorable read. Nugent has created a character that you love to hate in Cordelia. That said, I actually felt sympathy for her at certain points though it evaporated rather quickly each time. Nugent has developed a complex personality which isn't exactly a breeze. I know some people stopped reading as they could not connect with her, if you prefer a likable cast this may not be for you. I was drawn in from the first pages and did ...more
Julie Parks
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book left me mentally crippled. I mean I literally drank for three days straight and came down with flu right after.

It's grand. It's brilliant. DON'T READ IT ON YOUR HONEYMOON!

Our main villain, Delia (or Cordelia, depends on who you ask) is a real masterpiece.

First, it kind of matters whether you've read Unraveling Oliver before this or not. Because it's hard not to see this as a female spin-off of the same pain. I was actually mad at Nugent for a while. It's one thing to rewrite old books
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Skin Deep starts with a death (no spoilers here, it’s literally the first page), and the reader soon becomes aware that there is something slightly off about Delia O’Flaherty, the female character narrating the story. And it’s not just the fact that she is leaving a body behind in her flat in Nice as she goes out trying to clear her head and come up with a plan of how to best dispose of it. It was all very, very intriguing, and I soon felt myself getting sucked into the story. Who can resist a m ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't know how to review this book. I have read this book with a wide eyed fascination, in complete disbelief, at the way the main character was and the actions taken by her in her life, all selfish ones. There was no empathy, no tenderness, she almost seemed empty. A sociopath of sorts. Scary!!!

The story starts with the main character Cordelia/ Delia killing someone from her past, and then going to a party to find a man who would sponsor her escape from the apartment where the corpse
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Actual footage of me at Savers on half price book sale day . . . .

Generally I buy stuff that I just want to hoard and have probably already read, but this time I had the buzzkill husband with me who kept reminding me I have zero bookshelf space left and pretty much just cramping my style so I had to find books I hadn’t read before. And then I saw this one . . . .

So I have a handful of reviews I haven’t written yet (shocker, I know) where I’m going to complain about not liking the chara
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Skin deep is a dark and twisted novel which shows just how heartless one person can become. It messed me up and I loved it.
Ieva Andriuskeviciene
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars-books
Liz Nugent is a master of dark atmospheric books. I probably prefer this one over Unraveling Oliver. Main character is so difficult and complex. Highly recommend
Joanne Robertson
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having been a huge fan of Liz Nugent’s last two books, I’m not quite sure why this one has sat on my TBR for so long! And now I’ve read it, I wish it was back on there! Not because I didn’t like it, but because I would love to be reading it once again for the first time! What a wonderfully dark and harrowing story Liz Nugent weaves around one of the most hideous and monstrous characters she has ever created…proving that beauty truly is only skin deep.

When we first meet Cordelia she is the only d
Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books
I am a big fan of Liz Nugent. Both her debut and sophomore novel kept me awake until the early hours. I was so drawn into her stories, her characters, that I couldn't sleep without knowing how things played out with them. So, naturally, I was delighted to be sent an advanced copy of her third novel, Skin Deep from Penguin Ireland.

Nugent is a stunningly talented writer. Her thrilling, gripping plots and utterly despicable characters tend to transfix, so my expectations were high. Thankfully I was
Sonja Arlow
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
2.5 stars

I enjoyed this a little more than Unraveling Oliver and I think the main reason was that unlike Oliver, Delia also got her comeuppance.

It’s just difficult to give a book a higher rating when 90% of the characters are all bitter or aggressive A*holes. The author really has a gift of writing despicable characters.

I really enjoyed the island stories interspersed throughout the tale – little stories her father told her that all have some link to what is currently happening to Delia. I coul
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ohhh Delia O’Flaherty, you are a devilishly despicable, devious, dreadfully wicked character and I loved every single moment! Liz Nugent’s third book, Skin Deep is a definite hit and deserves high praise. Following on from Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait, I was apprehensive that a third book may not live up to the first two fantastic books…..but I was totally wrong. Skin Deep is equally as excellent as the two previous novels.

The story follows Delia O’Flaherty from a young age as she leave
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Liz Nugent has knocked it out of the ballpark with this one. It is a brilliant psychological character study that had me fully engrossed from the first page to the last. I thought Lying In Wait was a good book but this is something else.

We first meet Delia on a small island Iniscran off the coast of Ireland. A desolate island with very few inhabitants but stacked to the rafters with myths and legends. A beloved daughter with three brothers Delia is a somewhat spoilt child, especially by her fath
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
3 Stars. I didn't like this one as much as many of my Goodreads friends did. I think its downfall for me was the retelling from multiple perspectives. I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over and eventually became bored so I skimmed. I will chalk that up to my short attention span because the writing was excellent. It was so disappointing to me because I loved her Unraveling Oliver. ...more
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Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally before writing extensively for radio and television drama.

Unravelling Oliver was published in 2014, hit the number 1 spot for several weeks and won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Lying in Wait, published in 2016, went straight to number 1 and was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. It wo

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