Quiet Sally Feather keeps her head down, at home and at school. When an encounter with a homeless man leads her to take refuge in a tattoo parlour, she makes a rash decision and gets a tattoo of a pin-up girl. Little does she know that the sultry Molly-Sue is going to offer to help her get everything she ever wanted. But there’s always a price to be paid…

The whole thing was starting to piss her off – an evil tattoo and an enigmatic nun.

At the heart of Under My Skin is a story about stepping out from the shadows and becoming the person you always wanted to be. Unfortunately for Sally, it takes a nefarious living tattoo to push her into things. Her mum has always been on at her to join in, now she is.

I think there’s also some sort of message in there about being sure about getting a tattoo because it’s not something that’s easily undone. Although hopefully your tattoo won’t starting talking to you…

Of course, with any horror story, things start to go wrong. Getting what you want in life sometimes means stepping on other people; something Sally isn’t good at but where Molly-Sue excels. At times I thought that Molly-Sue was a positive presence; she certainly has the right attitude to men who push their luck. I’m not sure that side of her fit with the ultimate revelation.

She wasn’t weak, she was quiet. There’s a difference.

It was an easy and fun read but was lacking in any real tension. And my main problem is that is just wasn’t scary. The idea of someone knowing your every thought and having the potential to take control is plain terrifying, but the story surrounding this idea always felt safe.

Sally, Jennie and Stan are fans of Satanville, a US show that sounds a bit like Supernatural and Buffy. I really struggle with these fictional Fandoms, I felt the same about Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. Is there really that much of a copyright problem that characters can’t be fans of real shows? Making their fandom fictional means that it requires an exposition every time the character wants to refer to it.

In addition, the book felt like it could be an extended episode of Buffy, but without the vampires. The high school clichés are all there, and somewhat American in feel. Sally even mentions that she wished she lived in an American TV show, but it seems she’s already there. I can see that the clichés are there on purpose, but this one didn’t hit the right buttons for me.

All in all, not James Dawson’s best book. I would heartily recommend starting with one of his others, which have much more tension and scare factor.

Under My Skin is published by Hot Key Books and is available now in a sexy, hot pink edged paperback as well as ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Also reviewed @ ShinraAlpha

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.