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Skin Deep

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,526 ratings  ·  463 reviews
'Perfect summer read for those who like their escapism on the darker side' Ian Rankin

The deliciously sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Richard and Judy Book Club pick, Lying in Wait'

'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 liv
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 15th 2018 by Penguin (first published April 15th 2018)
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Janet M I pictured her with dark hair ('til she dyed it) and an olive complexion, and of course the striking contrast with her blue eyes. When height isn't…moreI pictured her with dark hair ('til she dyed it) and an olive complexion, and of course the striking contrast with her blue eyes. When height isn't mentioned, I assume the character to be of average height.
Other than that, the book was so well-written I never even noticed these minor omissions. I'm sorry this affected your enjoyment of the story.(less)
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3.96  · 
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 ·  3,526 ratings  ·  463 reviews

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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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
“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
Beauty is only Skin Deep! But to what extent can it 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 throug
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  ·  review of another edition
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 fo
Louise Wilson
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
“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...

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
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
Julie Parks
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
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
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Now this is a 5 star book!

Holy crap....I'm reeling. This chick is just a walking, talking curse on the world and everyone she encounters.

Best book I have read in some time!
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
Joanne Robertson
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
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
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sonja Arlow
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never read any books by Liz Nugent so when I started this one I was not sure what to expect.
However after a few pages I realised I was in for a real treat as this was such an unusual and provocative read.
Usually I need to empathise with the main character in a novel in order to enjoy it but Delia was so awful I couldn’t feel anything for her other than dislike. She was completely self obsessed, had no feeling for other people and merely used them in order to survive. She was obviously dama
Janet M
Liz Nugent has outdone herself with her latest amazing work, Skin Deep. Perhaps I should go back and remove a star from my rating of her previous novel, Lying in Wait, as it doesn't even compare to this one. I rarely give a 5-star rating.

What a picture of depravity and ugliness she weaves in the character of stunningly beautiful Delia Russell. The reader is quickly drawn into the story, particularly while learning details of Delia's sad childhood which contributed to her sociopathic personality
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unusually for me, I am going to compare this book with Liz Nugent's Lying in Wait. Not least because Lying in Wait was in my top 3 books of 2016 (and I read almost 80 books that year!) but because once again this book started with an outstanding first sentence, had me sat firmly at the edge of my seat throughout, had a flawed, damaged and heartless sociopath as its protagonist and narrator and had a superb but completely unexpected ending. Expertly crafted storyline and characterisation, this bo ...more
Sue Purbrick
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found Skin Deep utterly compelling, despite my intense dislike of the cold, calculating, narcissistic main character, Delia. The book opens with a gruesome murder scene, and then goes back to when the outwardly beautiful Delia was a young girl. I don’t usually like this device, but it really works here. It upped the suspense and had me gripped as I worked my way towards finding out exactly what that opening scene was all about. The book traces Delia’s eventful life – starting with her odd upbr ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of this writer's previous books. I was a bit disappointed with this one. Again it's not a thriller. But psychological it certainly is. I just couldn't feel that much for Delia. She's a psychopath with quite a history. The twist at the end came as a surprise.
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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. I
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