Skin Deep – A Siobhan O’Brien Mystery, Book 1

Left Coast Crime’s
2021 Best Humorous Mystery Novel Nominee!

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“Snappy dialogue complements the breezy plot, which, like Siobhan, never takes itself too seriously. Kinsey Millhone fans, this one’s for you.”
Mystery Scene

“With just the right mix of clever twists, endearing charm, looming threats, and contemporary issues (identity, privilege, cultural appropriation, the ugliest parts of the beauty trade), literary novelist Woo (Love Love) debuts quite the absorbing new mystery series, hopefully with multiple volumes to come.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“This first in a series holds promise, given Woo’s punchy prose style [and] diverse milieu. A series to watch.”

“The prize is a heroine who’s by turns wide-eyed, gravely amused, susceptible, and plenty cool enough for an encore.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Woo perceptively explores the theme of image and personal identity throughout. Readers will look forward to seeing more of the beguiling Siobhan.”
Publishers Weekly

“…[W]hile on its surface, there’s a rather fun mystery, Skin Deep proves it is so much more than that, and I look forward to seeing where Woo takes this character and the series.”
Mandy McHugh, Goodreads

“Siobhan O’Brien, a Korean-American adoptee who finds herself unexpectedly the sole proprietor of a PI firm, is a welcome addition to the genre. She’s smart, brave, funny, and dog-with-a-bone determined. Skin Deep gives her an intriguing case and surrounds her with wonderful characters. I hope to see much more of Siobhan O’Brien in the future.”
SJ Rozan, best-selling author of Paper Son

“An energetic romp with a sneakily sinister side, Skin Deep follows charming reluctant private eye Siobhan O’Brien onto a college campus and a spiritual retreat teeming with shady secrets.”
Steph Cha, award-winning author of Your House Will Pay

Skin Deep reads like a fast-paced, light mystery—all the while it explores thought-provoking themes of cultural, societal, and familial obligations, and the complicated power dynamics therein. With Siobhan O’Brien, Woo creates an intriguing series anchor whom we can delight in watching climb a steep PI learning curve with wit, intelligence, and brave resourcefulness. Siobhan is a wonderful addition to a beautiful tradition and I’m excited to read more of her adventures.”
S.G. Wong, award-nominated author of the Lola Starke series

“Siobhan O’Brien (black haired Asian adopted by an American Irish father and Nordic mother) perfectly fits the spunky independent investigator gap left by Kinsey Millhone. I love how she delivers lines like, ‘Surveillance makes the tummy grow fonder—for food, that is’ in this funny, entertaining mystery that hits all my favourite buttons.”
Ovidia Yu, author of Aunty Lee Mystery series and The Crown Colony series

“Sung J. Woo skillfully navigates the world of identity and family through this amazing detective novel. Woo’s story brims with wit, and his PI, Siobhan O’Brien, rings with jaded authenticity.”
Ed Lin, author of Ghost Month and 99 Ways to Die

Korean-American adoptee Siobhan O’Brien has spent much of her life explaining her name and her family to strangers, but a more pressing problem is whether to carry on the PI agency that her dead boss unexpectedly left to her. Easing into middle age, Siobhan would generally rather have a glazed donut than a romance, but when an old friend asks Siobhan to find her daughter who has disappeared from her dorm, the rookie private detective’s search begins at Llewellyn College.

A women’s institution of higher learning in upstate New York, Llewellyn, for the first time in its two-hundred-year history, has opened its doors to male students.  Fringe group The Womyn of Llewellyn are furious, but their ex-fashion-model president declares they have little choice due to financial shortfalls.  But if that’s true, where did she get the money to build a brand new science center, and why is it under 24/7 surveillance by the town cops?

As Siobhan delves deeper into the search for her friend’s daughter, she encounters politely dangerous men in white turtlenecks, vegan cooking that might kill her, possibly deadly yoga poses, and a woman named Cleopatra who’s got more issues than National Geographic. This first in a new series introduces an endearing P.I. heroine in the tradition of classic female detectives like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski readers won’t be able to put down.

2 thoughts on “Skin Deep – A Siobhan O’Brien Mystery, Book 1

  1. I loved this book – gave it to my parents to read as well and they both enjoyed it very much. I’m a biracial Asian with children who were adopted from Japan, so there were many themes that resonated with me. I’ve kept my copy for them to read when they’re older and seeking works about the Asian diaspora, especially for adoptees.

    • Dear D Wong,

      Thanks so much for liking Skin Deep enough to come all the way over here and comment on it! I really appreciate it, and I’m happy to tell you that the sequel, knock on wood, will be appearing sometime this year. It’s supposedly scheduled for this September, but my spidey senses tell me it’ll probably be a bit later. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop! The sequel, by the way, is titled Deep Roots. 🙂

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