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Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2021
This is the first story from Ash Ericmore I have read that isn’t a part of the Smalls Family series and I absolutely loved it. Part mystery/thriller, part cult, Skin Deep follows Andi Janson as she tries to uncover the truth about a string of murders in her small town. When a local teen eager goes missing and all signs point towards the boy living on the last farm in a now mostly urban environment, Andi goes undercover and finds herself in a cult where people get to play out their wildest fantasies.
The book feels like it is in two parts - The build up, and then joining the cult. The first part is definitely more of a mystery/thriller, where our protagonist finds clues and tries to unlock the truth. As the story progresses, you join Andi in going undercover at Charles’ farm, where people play out their biggest submissive and dominate sexual fantasies. This portion of the book is where the majority of the action is, especially in the last 100 pages. The warning about page 244 is there for a reason. The whole book I was wondering what could possibly happen and I was definitely not prepared for the ultimate act of being dominated. You will not see it coming!
Ericmore’s writing flows smoothly, like a gentle melody that makes it’s way into your head. Once inside it paints a vivid mural of the story, really putting you into the scenes like it’s happening in front of you. As the story gets dark, so do the colors used for the mural, going from a technicolor screen to a gritty black and white. As you fight for your life alongside Andi, that gentle melody becomes the blast beats of double kick pedals and the chugging of a seven string guitar tuned down to Drop C. Your heart will race, panic will set in, and you’ll be racing towards the finish line, turning pages as fast as you can to see how it all ends.
I love Ashes short stories but after read it this I'm definitely going to be needing more full novels. This had all the Ericmore blood, gore and dark humour that makes them an instant one click author for me.