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Beneath The Skin

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,735 ratings  ·  249 reviews
"When she laughs, she makes a pealing sound, like a doorbell. If I told her I loved her, she would laugh at me like that. She would think I was not serious. That is what women do. They turn what is serious and big into a small thing, a joke. Love is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. One day, soon, she will understand that."

Zoe, a pretty blond schoolteacher. Je

Paperback, 359 pages
Published 2000 by Michael Joseph (first published January 1st 1997)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,735 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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For some reason I always thought Nicci French was a female romance writer, so I always passed her books by when I saw them. Not only was I wrong about the genre, but I recently learned what I thought was a "she" is actually a husband and a wife writing team. Who knew? -(apparently everyone else but me).

BENEATH THE SKIN is a British suspense thriller told from three different points of view:

Part 1 Zoe's story- Zoe is a young teacher in her 20s, and has become a bit of a hero after she stopped a
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes psychological thrillers
What made (makes) this book so beautiful to me is twofold.

1. The casual elegance of the writing. Nicci French (for the purpose of just plain not feeling like typing out two names, I will ignore that this is a pseudonym and just pretend it's one author) is brilliant at sketching characters that feel like real people and for using spare, simple and yet beautiful prose. I really love her style and always have. It's especially evident in her earlier works and now in the Frieda Klein series.

2. The re
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is indeed a psychological thriller. One that made me think about connections people have with each other and how people can change in the blink of an eye. Someone who seems trustworthy can turn out to be unbelievably good at acting. I was thoroughly hooked while reading the book. With each part of the book, told through the point of view of 3 different women who are targets of an obsessive stalker, you become closer and closer to finding the culprit and you begin to question the effici ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nicci French Readers
I was about 80 pages into this book and rather enjoying it when I happened to read the jacket. It summarized that this was the story of three girls all targeted for murder with little in common. I was still on the story of the first girl and quickly realized from the jacket description that she was going to die. So, she died and then I started the story of the second girl. It was tough to get through because I felt like I was rushing through it, knowing that she would die because a third girl wo ...more
B the BookAddict
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: highly recommended
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: my twin
Shelves: fiction

You want to shout at the women: "look out", such is your own level of tension. Creepy to the max but not a spooky creepy - a hair standing up on your arms in alarm creepy. Read this if you dare but make sure you lock the doors and have a big brawny man with you but then again, can you really trust that man????? He may well turn out to be like one of the men in this book. Read this, you'll see what I mean. 4★
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Hahaha! 4.5 stars! Seriously loved this. What a series of surprising events!!
Dec 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is good!! but not spectacular!!
Graham Dinton
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually three part novels irritate me. It takes me 50 pages to get into something, then I get to the end of Act 1, and Act 2 is a completely new story and I have to invest that start-up time again. This happened with Beneath the Skin but it was worth it, and by the time I got to Act 3, the pieces fitted together really well.
Three different women, three different viewpoints, each with growing tension from a series of threatening letters with some comedy and sex thrown in. What more do you want? B
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A serial killer targets three women and the book is comprised of the three different stories of these women.
This is not your typical serial killer book because the focus is on the victims and written from each of their points of view.
It made a nice change to see and feel what they did rather than following a detective with his/her own problems and agenda chasing after an elusive killer.
The women were very different and the author captured the different voices perfectly.
Instead of coming away th
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I wrote a story in school I finished it with 'and then I died', My Teacher was quick to point out 'so how did you write this?? ' in big red letters. It's stuck with me for 30 odd years and I HATE it when writers do it (spoiler if I go further but you will know it when you see it). Apart from that it's the usual Nicci French thriller that messes with your mind. Good
Tracy Fenton
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first book by Nicci French and I listened to it via Audible. A beautifully, descriptive story which transports you into the story with each minute detail. This is a chillingly gripping tale of 3 different women stalked by an obsessive man determined to kill them. The book is divided into 3 parts, each narrated by the women being stalked. Deliciously dark and disturbing. l loved it.
Carey Combe
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally gripping, tense and unputdownable....
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great beach or plane read. Clever plot, goes on too long...but worth reading.
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rpabookclub, 2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Darcy
super good fun, reading Nicci French always feels a bit like a feverish dream to me. Everyone around the protagonist is always so unhelpful, unsympathetic, unprofessional, inappropriate. No one does what they're supposed to. There's a million red herrings to muddy the water but real clues are few and far between, dropped inconsistently or perhaps deliberately withheld.
I like a good twist to make you look back and think "oh of course. I didn't think anything of that at the time but it makes sens
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good thriller. Nicci French never seems to disappoint
Susanne Mills
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read a few of her books and this wasn’t my favourite. I didn’t get the usual chills until the very end. It was ok, worth an afternoon but not the first I’d recommend :)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beneath the Skin is my second book by the husband and wife team, Nicci Gerrrad and Sean French, who go by the pseudonym Nicci French.

It’s about three women from different walks of life, who receive anonymous letters threatening to kill them. The women seemingly have nothing in common. But whoever penned their letters described personal details, which made you think that the person must obviously be in very close proximity. Despite the women being closely guarded, the perpetrator still managed t
Robert Beveridge
Nicci French, Beneath the Skin (1999, Warner)

Think of Nicci French as the darker, rougher side of Judith Michael--a collaboration between two folks, one male, one female, on some very nasty mysteries. In this case, the main character (though he gets relatively little screen time) is a serial killer who enjoys stalking his victims, leaving them love notes, outwitting the police, that sort of thing. Your typical above-average-intelligence serial killer. We see him, and the police trying to catch h
Tina Pugh
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. It would make a good TV series. I liked getting to know the characters and enjoyed the twist as to who was responsible. I did work out who the main killer was. That being said would thoroughly recommend.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nls-audio
Zoe, Jennifer, Nadia; sisters; but not sisters. Zoe, the teacher, just wants to sell her flat and live quietly. But she thwarts a mugging one day, using, of all things, a watermelon as her weapon. For a time, the public focuses on her. She is a hero among the cops in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, Zoe is the recipient of letters that clearly indicate that the writer wants her to die. Law enforcement does nothing; Zoe is murdered.
Jenny lives opulently, is highly organized, and is working at rem
Meera salah
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had mixed feelings about this book, the format it was written in seemed smart at the beginning, but then the author made the mistake of revealing the identity of the killer halfway through the book, which I guess was kind of nerve-wracking as we went on with the other half of the book and also kind of anti-climatic toward the end, because I kept expecting that another twist would turn up, and it sort of did but still disappointing. I usually like to be kept in the dark until at least %80 of th ...more
Listened to in audio format.

I am currently working my way through Nicci French's stand alone thrillers. I enjoyed the TV adaptation of Beneath the Skin but I am glad to say the book is vastly superior.

Beneath the Skin is about three different women living in London. Zoe a primary school teacher who stopped a mugger by throwing a watermelon. Jenny who was a model but stopped work when she married. Jenny is now a kept woman with three children looked after by an au-pair. Nadia who is not sure what
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was cool to read this today and realize that Grace Schilling was likely an early model for Frieda Klein.

I've read all the Friedas (except for one, dammit) so I wasn't sure about an earlier venture by Nicci French. I shouldn't have worried. The characterizations alone were just mind-boggling. Especially the second woman, Jennifer Hintlesham. She was getting on my last nerve until about three-quarters in, when I suddenly realized I desperately wanted her to live, reconnect with her sons and sa
Mad Leon
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A psychological thriller following three women who are targeted by a serial killer. I didn't realize this was written from three points of view until the end of Zoe's story. At first I was irritated, but as I continued it became quite fascinating to delve into the thought patterns of the women. I had two problems with the book, one being the stupidity of the police. The saying, "insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results" pretty much describes the police investigation ...more
Mary Hann
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this book in high school for a self-chosen book report and being absolutely captivated by it. We had to read a section of the book out loud in front of the class and I chose a particularly disturbing part and I have remembered it to this day. It was fun to go back and read it again as an adult, around the age of the characters. It took me a little while to remember the twist, but what I was more surprised by was just how genuinely well written it was. If I had been reading the ...more
Sue Draper
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book!! A page turner from start to finish with a twist at the end as the mystery is solved. Three North London women are sent letters threatening death. They are obviously being watched and are terrified. Zoe and Jenny are killed despite a police presence but Nadia fights back. She is determined not to end up a victim of this sicko and by clever means and her doggedness, she gets inside his mind and figures it all out. Fabulous writing, ensuring you don’t want to put this book down. ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loving Nicci French novels. They keep you guessing to the very end. This book tells the tale of three seemingly separate women who are all targeted by someone who wants to kill them just because. They know that because notes tell them this. Each woman has a tale which doesn't end well. Until the last of the three decides that she will take things into her own hands and try and discover who is behind this. I felt there was a clever twist towards the end but my Husband didn't so maybe I ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. It's been a while since I read something from this author buy well have to find some more. Better quality than a lot of the murder mysteries I usually read and not very violent.

Written from the point of view of the victims predominantly, with the occassional glimpse into the killer's mind to add to the effect.
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Note: (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French also write separately.)

Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.

In the early eighties she taught English Literature