Crime thriller books THE NECKLACE
January 21, 2021

Book Review

Beneath Her Skin

Gregg Olsen

reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo



Gregg Olsen’s very first Young Adult novel, has been reissued under the name Beneath Her Skin.

Did Katelyn Berkley commit suicide or didn’t she?  We find her in the beginning of Beneath Her Skin, in her bathtub with a submerged espresso machine. Some deem it a suicide, while her old friends don’t believe she would do that.

Taylor and Haley are 15-year-old twins with special abilities who are former friends of the victim. Haley can touch inanimate objects to ‘see’ a memory or feeling. Taylor can receive coded messages while submerged in water, described in the book as scrabble pieces. Their first clue that something isn’t right is when they see a message out on the water that spells out “look.” From there, they set out to find out what really happened to their old friend, Katelyn.

Port Gamble, Washington, is our setting. It’s a small town where everything is old., from houses to cemeteries to structures. It’s a setting which gives the book a magical feeling that remains throughout.

As usual, Gregg Olsen excels at creating a cast of characters the reader won’t forget. This includes Colton, the hunky teenager who lives across the street, Beth, best friend of the twins and a sharp tongued outcast, and Starla, the girl you love to hate and former best friend and next-door neighbor of the deceased teen. Taylor and Hayley’s father is a famous crime writer, which adds another delicious element to the story.

Every single character, no matter how wonderful they seem, has a dark side to them. It keeps the reader on their toes from beginning to end and surprises them along the way. There are multiple storylines introduced throughout, that give more insight into the scenario that Katelyn was murdered. Though this book is based on true events, she could be any girl in small town America. A teenager who thought she had found love online but found something much, much darker.

The glorious thing is that nothing is what it seems. When the reader thinks they have finally figured out what happened to Katelyn, they are surprised again. As an avid reader of mystery and suspense, I often try to solve the mystery early in the book. I loved that I was wrong here, and Olsen could surprise me. Be warned that not all characters get their due justice. While the ending is satisfying, you yearn for those who did Katelyn wrong to get their payback. This is not that book.

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