Girl Without Skin is a graphically violent tale of murder and sexual abuse set in the capital of Greenland.
Danish reporter Matthew Cave tries to escape the memory of the car crash that killed his wife and unborn daughter by moving to Greenland. As a journalist, he is assigned to report on a Viking mummy found in a nearby ice crevice. The mummy is left in the remote location overnight with a police guard. When Matthew returns in the morning with his photographer and the police, the mummy is gone. In addition, the policeman has been cut open from chin to groin and his organs taken from the scene.
Matthew’s editor suggests there was a similar crime in 1973. After some research, Matthew discovers that four Inuit men were cut open, flayed and their intestines dumped next to their bodies. Immediately before their murders, two of the men’s daughters went missing and were never found.
Girl Without Skin is a blood-tingling trip to icy Greenland amid the clashing cultures of its Danish and Inuit residents. The book contains three main characters: Matthew, Malik his photographer, and Tupaarnaq, the recently released convicted murderer of her entire family. All three are fully built characters with believable actions and motivations. The plot is compelling and may result in a substantial loss of sleep. Overall, it’s a masterly novel although I would have preferred more dialogue in the flashback scenes. The use of the diary of the investigating officer to chronicle the earlier crimes forces the author to rely too often on description rather than observation to tell the tale. The harrowing conclusion almost makes up for this flaw with an astonishing twist that I didn’t foresee at all. 4 stars!
Warning, this book is not for all readers. There are many explicit scenes of rape. The murder methods are described in such detail that the book may be distressing for some readers. The killing of a seal is so disturbingly depicted that it may make some readers instant vegetarians. Seriously, this book is on a different level from most thrillers and its imagery stays with the reader well past the end of the book. It is definitely not a good choice for underage readers.
Thanks to Text Publishing and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.