Beneath Her Skin by C.S. Porter

A brilliant but damaged detective with a mysterious past. A serial killer terrorizing a small town where the local cops are in over their heads. A decades-old tragedy just now giving up its secrets. But who are the victims and who are the wrongdoers might possibly be the biggest question in Beneath Her Skin, a fast-paced and thought-provoking new novel by debut author C. S. Porter.

Kes Morris is a pill-popping, big-city detective with the Jaguar – and the lessons – her detective father left her before his untimely death. Her tough exterior belies her deeply damaged psyche; something in her personal life is tearing her up but she cannot admit it to herself let alone anyone else. Summoned to aid in a small-town murder investigation, she is supremely confident in her own skills and throws together a team of locals who have a lot to prove to her and themselves. Yet as the body count creeps up, it becomes a race both to find the killer(s) and for Kes to control how much she allows them to inhabit her soul. All the expected tropes are here, but with a fresh twist. When a motive finally becomes clear, Kes and her team face the biggest moral dilemma of their careers.

Set in a seaside town somewhere on the east coast, the sea and fog and twisted coastal forests are characters in their own right. Porter draws a subtle yet atmospheric portrait of small-town living: of lives lived cheek by jowl, where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Or do they? Even small towns can have big secrets tucked away in the dim corners and residents whose true stories have been plastered over with a thin veneer of normalcy.

While Beneath Her Skin is billed as a debut novel by a writer even more mysterious than the whodunit they wrote, it reads more like an offering from an author at their peak. Porter may or may not have come from the US, the UK or the anonymous Atlantic province where this novel is set. They may or may not have a background in criminal investigation. Even their gender is shrouded. What is absolutely certain, as one is swept into this delicious, moving, completely satisfying gem of a noir detective novel, is they are not a rookie writer. Skillfully carrying the reader along as fast as a riptide, this novel is superbly paced, polished to perfection, and leaves the reader breathless for the next in this series. There has to be a next!

This C.S. Porter’s debut novel. A solitary writer who lives near the Atlantic Ocean, it is rumoured he or she was once involved in crime investigation; that Porter suffered an immense personal loss; that they came from US or UK, or grew up in these parts. Age unknown. The author has never been interviewed.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Nimbus Publishing Limited (Oct. 18 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771089814
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771089814

Heather McBriarty is an author, lecturer and Medical Radiation Technologist based in Saint John, NB. Her love of reading and books began early in life, as did her love of writing, but it was the discovery of old family correspondence that led to her first non-fiction book, Somewhere in Flanders: Letters from the Front, and a passion for the First World War. She has delivered lectures to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, NB Genealogy Society, and Western Front Association (Central Ontario Branch), among others, on the war. Heather’s first novel of the “Great War”, Amid the Splintered Trees, was launched in November 2021.