Review: Lisa Unger’s ‘Under My Skin’ weaves baffling puzzle

This cover image released by Park Row shows "Under My Skin," a novel by Lisa Unger. (Park Row via AP)

“Under My Skin” (Park Row), by Lisa Unger

A woman’s life spirals out of control as she battles with the loss of her husband in Lisa Unger’s latest psychological thriller, “Under My Skin.”

Poppy’s husband, Jack, was murdered a year ago while he was jogging through a city park in New York. When she received the news, the pain was so intense, she blacked out and ended up having no memory of several days. In fact, her next memory has her disoriented and wearing clothes she doesn’t recognize.

She’s tried to move on, and has even tried dating again, but no one comes close to Jack. It also doesn’t help that the murder was never solved.

Poppy begins to see a therapist, but the nightmares grow and she starts seeing a strange man wearing a gray hoodie who seems to be stalking her. Is this the killer coming back for her, or is she imagining him? Since she sometimes sees her dead husband, she’s not sure if the stalker — or anything else — is real.

Can Poppy climb out of her grief to find the truth? If she can, she will quickly discover that sometimes the facts are worse than manufactured reality.

Unger knows how to craft a tale that not only incorporates characters that feel real, but also weaves a baffling puzzle that keeps readers guessing. For a story that is steeped in grief and darkness, Unger’s steady hand keeps hope shining throughout, so it’s not difficult to enjoy this captivating thriller.

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