Cover Image: Skin Deep

Skin Deep

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Member Reviews

Renee Miller’s Skin Deep begins with some supernatural elements but quickly becomes a dark erotic thriller that packs plenty of story into its 126 pages.

Routed very much in previous trauma, we focus on Victoria, the daughter of a woman who made a pact with an evil force to remain beautiful up until her death.

While this very much sets the scene, this is very much about Victoria, a woman who is quite mentally ill, potentially depressed and isn’t to be trifled with.

When the violence starts it is unrelenting and Miller certainly does not hold back. The side plot follows a detective who encounters Victoria, with their paths intertwined throughout some suspicious incidents.

A real page-turner that kept me interested up until its dark finale.
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When she was an infant, Tori's mother sold her baby's soul to a crossroads demon for the chance at eternal beauty. Now an adult, Tori's mother is dead and Tori has a void inside her that manifests as obsessive suicidal ideation. While she wants nothing more than to die, and to die with her insanely good looks intact, a home invasion gone awry brings the possibility that there is a reason to live after all. After killing her would-be burglar, Tori realizes she likes murdering men. Like, like likes, as in it's a hugely gratifying sexual thrill, the biggest kink ever. But Detective Amos Christianson isn't buying her story of self-defense, at least not entirely. His gut tells him something is off with Tori, but he'd never in a million years suspect she is, literally, a soulless killer.

Skin Deep is an erotically charged serial killer thriller from Renee Miller, and is another in Unnerving's ever-expanding line of Rewind or Die novellas, which seek to capture the aesthetic of B-movie rentals from the '70s and '80s. One look at Skin Deep's eye-catching Basic Instinct-inspired cover art should immediately clue readers in on what to expect, and Miller certainly delivers a few Catherine Trammell-like mid-coitus kills, balancing sexy prose against twisted murder scenes.

While there's plenty of made-for-late-night cable titillation (with Miller's sex-cum-murder descriptions going far beyond what Skinemax's censors allowed on-air), the story probably would have been better served without the demonic soul-selling subplot. While the crossroads demon does serve some purpose to the story, it's an aspect that never feels truly integral to the plot, nor is it explored or exploited to its fullest. Instead, it feels half-baked and the resolution to Skin Deep feels too simplistic and rushed. I kept waiting for the demonic entity to spice things up, but ultimately the end feels like a disappointingly premature finish.

Miller is at her strongest, though, in getting us inside the off-kilter head of Tori. She's a fun, twisted character to read about and you can tell Miller had a lot of fun writing this deranged, narcissistic, self-absorbed, suicidal psycho. I actually found myself cracking up a few times at Tori's elaborate imagings of her self-inflicted end and fleeting hopes as she realizes her efforts will all be for naught. Actually, I'm not sure if that says more about me or Miller's ability to craft darkly comic suicide scenarios...

Despite the supernatural element never fully congealing into something meaningful, or even necessary, Skin Deep still makes for fun and surprisingly light serial killer story firmly centered around sex and deviancy, with dashes of pitch-black humor, and Miller spends its 100+ pages spilling all kinds of bodily fluids all over the place.
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I received a complimentary copy of Skin Deep in exchange for an honest review.  I'm not sure what I just read, but I can say it was disturbing.  The book description did not begin to prepare me for a book with such a mentally challenged main character.   Even though I didn't care for this story, I thought the ending tied in the beginning very well, and set this book up for another sequel.  This was a very quick and easy read, and if you are really into dark concepts this may be a great read.
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Skin Deep had a fun premise but it just wasn't executed very well.  Unlikable characters that I didn't care about, and a plot that had a lot of holes and a lot left unexplained (and no in the good way)
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Wow, this book is truly an experience! I finally found another book that has a serial killer x detective trope like the Mindf*ck series of S.T. Abby, but this one is just a little lowkey. I obviously loved this book! I loved the turns it made and I enjoyed the entire reading experience with this one. I loved how everything is connected and how it ties at the end and ends so well. The blending of horror and erotica is well-executed in this book as well, I literally had chills while reading. I would definitely want to read more from this author. highly recommended and definitely another horror favorite!
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I could not get into this book. The characters were not likable or relatable and the sexual violence was overdone. This book just wasn't for me.
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Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book for review!

Massive trigger warnings for suicide and child abuse.

Characters: There was not one likeable character that got more than 3 pages in this novella.  Amos was okay until the end, which destroyed his character personally for me.  Victoria as a main character could've been a bit more interesting if the book was longer and followed her over a longer time frame.  I understand it's a novella, so one has to cut things shorter than normal.  Also this book is incredibly sexist to be set in 2021.  I thought since the series as a whole is 80's style that this book was set in the 80's but no it's set present day.  Romero was the best character but she was only in there for a few scenes and killed off page.  

Atmosphere: No atmosphere built because we were jumping all over the place constantly.  

Writing: Writing was probably the strong point of this novella.  This author clearly knows how to write a novella.

Plot: I liked the idea but kind of wish this was fleshed out more.  

Intrigue: I was intrigued about the demon deal, but that didn't even play that much of a part in the book.  Wish there had been more of the crossroads demon playing a part in Victoria's killings.  

Logic: Not super logical, but I could see a lot of these things happening in real life (minus the demon deal)

Enjoyment: All in all I hated the language of the novel and what Victoria had to say about her own gender.  I enjoyed it for what it was.  As someone who is a fan of paranormal happenings, there just wasn't enough of the paranormal aspect to make me love this.
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I received a complimentary digital ARC of this title through NetGalley for review. I was so excited for this book. The cover is bold and captivating. I had to DNf it though, the sexual violence wasn't for me. I was hopping for it to be a horror novel much like basic instincts movie but it wasn't. The plot was underdeveloped and the timeline was all over the place.
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Was taken aback and disappointed by the level of violence in this book,  The whole witchcraft veneer was lame and poorly done and seemed disconnected to from the psychology of the Tori character.  As a fan of true erotica I found the whole story very disturbing and would not recommend it.
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I try to find something positive to say about every book I read and review, this one has me on the struggle bus. I was so intrigued by the blurb and was IN.  I was ready for this horror/sex-based story, but this fell through on both fronts. I will admit I am not a super big fan of short stories and often feel like they are rushed and forced. I felt that 100% with Skin Deep. 
I hated the mother but I hated our leading lady Tori even more. Don't get me wrong I am all for killing a main character and even hating a main, but she literally had zero redeeming qualities. Amos was a bore, a snooze fest as a leading man.  There was more of a connection with his boss than his "love" interests Vicitoria and Vickie (really original.) I wanted to get behind a cop falling for a suspect and that really is a great plotline, but again, this fell so flat on story and character development
The entire idea behind the "shadow man" I felt was ridiculous. I just did not like that element at all. The plot had so many holes and left me thinking "there has got to be more..." and there was not. We end a chapter and the next we are 3 years down the road and kids are here now and Amos has a dead wife. WHAT??? 
I wanted to like this so much but I did not, I am honestly surprised I finished it.  I am sure there is an audience for this but sadly I am not a member of it.
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I tried to read this book but its very hard. I love horror book's but i guess Erotic Horror just isn't my things. It's not a bed book by any means thats why I gave it 3 stars. It's jus that erotic horror isn't my thing sorry :(.
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I loved this short erotic horror novella, it was easy to read, a good mix of horror and erotica, and the story was more complex that I expected for such a short story, and there was a few twists that I didn’t see coming, which I always like.

The ending felt a bit rushed, but overall it's a fun quick read. 

This book is part of the ‘Rewind-or-Die’ book series (don’t worry you don’t need to read the others before this one) in the ‘Rewind-or-Die’ book series, The series is for people who miss the golden era of VHS rentals from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, those awesome B-grade slasher and monster movies.

I have read a stack of the ‘Rewind-or-Die’ books, and I’m at the point now where If I see one on the shelf I will grab it.

I will also check out other books by Renee Miller.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.*
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Skin Deep by Renee Miller is a short horror novella that follows Victoria MacDonald who wants to find a way to die beautifully and ends up becoming a murder. This wasn't what I was expecting. Since the book starts out with Victoria's mother selling her daughters soul to say beautiful and the obsession's with dying beautifully I thought that it would become a story where Victoria has to kill to stay beautiful. The switch from her trying to die to get sexual gratification from murder is very fast and not something that the story gives enough time to the reader to understand. Also there is no reason to have the selling ones soul as an aspect of this story. Given the subject matter the book uses in the plot I'm surprised that there were no trigger warnings listed at the beginning.
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Oof. Technically finished, but ended up skimming most if it by the end. It is a quick read, but just doesn't feel fleshed out enough in many areas, and also feels quite rushed.
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This is a short novella length story. I must say I was expecting “more” with it being labelled erotica. The horror was that, and then there was a crime plot as well. I am on the fence about this one. I didn’t love it, nor did I hate it, but certainly for it to be labelled erotica, it needs, far more. 
As I have not read any other stories in this lengthy series, I cannot comment on how well it fits, adds or detracts from the whole.
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC digital copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I liked this story. It was an enjoyable read. I wished it could have been a little longer though. Although the time-line jumped ahead in days and then later in years; it was such a quick read (just a few hours for me), towards the end it still felt as if I was in the first week of the killings. The “super-natural” aspect was soon forgotten as the story unfolded. But the sexy eroticness was never more than a turn of a page away. I’ve definitely discovered a few new way to spice up my love life. Victoria McDonald is certainly the kind of girl to steer well clear of in a bar-room situation. Unless, of course, you had that same desire to bring on your own premature ending. But, hey!, let’s not spoil it for the next lucky reader. 
I would like to thank Renee Miller, the author; Unnerving, the publisher; and all at NetGalley for the free Kindle version, in exchange for my honest review and opinions.
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Highly entertaining tale of a crazed narcissist and deals with a demon - who was worse mother or daughter or the cop who didn't believe?  Fast read, and some really interesting characters!
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What do you do when you hear a strange sound in the house ? Do you run 🏃‍♀️? Do you hide? Or do you roll over and ride your man? This was a strange kinky ride. I didn’t know what would happen next but it was definitely an exciting read. Please recommend me more erotic horror. This is my first book by this author but it will definitely not be my last. 
Special thanks to NetGalley and the author for an ARC all opinions are my own.
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Skin Deep should not be labeled erotica. There is more detailed and frequent sex in contemporary romances. It is not the best written novella, but the crime storyline kept at a fast and gruesome pace. The supernatural aspect is unnecessary as it's barely used. Tori's motivations could easily be better explained with a mental illness on its own. Overall, I wanted more demon interaction and more sex to call it horror erotica.
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A narcissistic woman, obsessed with beauty and afraid of getting old, is willing to do literally anything to look always fit and beautiful until the day of her death. And she does find a way to make her dream come true... but the person who'll pay the consequences is her daughter Victoria. Once adult, Victoria doesn't want to live anymore. More specifically... she wants to be killed, but only under specific conditions.

Skin Deep is a horror novella (around 120 pages long) written by Renee Miller and it's #31 in the Rewind or Die series. This is also the second novella of this author that I read and really enjoy: because of its short format, the plot proceeds quickly and the characters either don't have a real development or they change very fast. Still I was not too bothered by this, it's a novella, I don't expect much besides being entertained. It's a disturbing story but it is entertaining! 

I read it in one sitting, even though I sometimes found myself a bit shocked by the events. If you decide to read it, please check the trigger warnings before as there are more than a few. If you're looking for erotica, this is not exactly it: yes, there are some sex scenes but I wouldn't really classify this as an erotic novella. It's more a horror / thriller one with explicit content.

The ending was a bit too abrupt and predictable, which is the only reason why I'm giving Skin Deep 4 stars instead of 5. But overall it's a fun quick read, I will for sure read other stories written by Miller!

* I'd like to thank Renee Miller, Unnerving and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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