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Cleanskin (novella for World Book Day)

When career criminal Jack Farlowe’s body is found washed up on a Suffolk shore, it looks to the police like a clear-cut case.  Heartbroken at his daughter’s death, he has drowned himself – good riddance and one less crime to solve, according to CID.

Then again, maybe not.  For, one by one, Farlowe’s enemies are being killed.  And the horrific manner of their deaths makes drowning look like a day at the beach…


“Any story that has Val McDermid driving it forward is sure to be a scary ride!

Even in this short novella form, written specially for the “Quick Reads” series, this starts off at a cracking pace and doesn’t let go until the end. The brief for this series was to write simple prose with short, sharp sentences. This style makes this thorny little tale all the better.

As usual, the victims do not die a ‘natural’ death – no simple gunshots or knives in the back here. With McDermid’s usual fertile (warped?) imagination, one poor soul dies from having an explosive device shoved into a very particular orifice. Ouch! You do wince for the poor bloke and have to wonder where the author gets her ideas? Suffice to say, this is another brilliant little gem from the excellent, always moreish, Ms. McD!”