Sweetpea – CJ Skuse @CeejaytheAuthor ‏ @HQstories #bookreview

“The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…”

This book is POLARISING!  Understandably so.  I can’t remember the last time I read a book so outrageous – if ever!  From the first couple of pages I found myself suppressing a snigger, feeling bad at laughing at such dark humour.  By the time I was halfway though the book I had embraced my inner psychopath and was laughing out loud till my ribs hurt.  An editorial assistant by day, a serial killer by night, Rhiannon may be a crazed murderer, but I think we can all relate to her, we all have some Rhiannon in us.

Written in the form of a diary every chapter opens with Rhiannon’s “Kill List” a self-explanatory list of people she fantasises about killing.  From the lazy work colleague who does diddly-squat, and then claims Rhiannon’s work for their own, to the checkout boy in Lidl who squashed her wholemeal bread a little too hard when scanning it, to hipsters with annoying beards, we’ve all been there.  That fury in your stomach and that throbbing vein in your temple, but most of us smile sweetly.  Rhiannon finally becomes sick of smiling sweetly and decides to get revenge.

I know it seems impossible to think that you could find a serial killer that you liked, and empathised with, but Rhiannon is it.  She survived a childhood massacre where a homicidal ex-boyfriend murdered a childminder, and all the tots she was looking after that day, bar one.  Rhiannon survived a blow to the skull with a hammer, but suffered slight brain damage after it.  This could possibly explain her emotional detachment from both a physiological point of view and a psychological.  But she’s not a completely cold-hearted bitch, she does care for some, for example animals and young children, and she just dotes on her little chihuahua “Tink”.  God help anyone who ever mistreated Tink.

Although some of her acts are quite brutal and violent, her diary entries and dry narration gives a different slant on things and not only makes them funny, but causes the thought “Well, you did have that coming” to flash through your mind.  This book is not for the easily offended, not only is it grisly but it’s crude and full of expletives.

There are other characters in the book alongside Rhiannon, her dim-witted long-term boyfriend Craig that is struggling to stay faithful (I think if he was my boyfriend I would be feeling pretty incensed too).  Her new work colleague AJ, a 19 year-old surfer freshly over from Australia that Rhiannon manages to forage a bond with, her group of friends she refers to as “The PICSOs” (People I Can’t Shake Off) and her sister, who lives across the pond in America.  This unique yet realistic collection of characters (most of whom Rhiannon can’t stand) add colour and dimension to the novel, and only seemed to strengthen the bond I felt with Rhiannon.

The ending is a killer (see what I did there 😉) and there just has to be a sequel, this can’t be the end!!  Named after the Welsh witch in my favourite Fleetwood Mac song:  She is like a cat in the dark, And then she is the darkness.  This describes both the book and Rhiannon perfectly.  Overall rating five fantastic stars, thanks to CJ Skuse, HQ Harpercollins, and NetGalley for my advanced reader copy.

Click here to pre-order Sweetpea now


2 thoughts on “Sweetpea – CJ Skuse @CeejaytheAuthor ‏ @HQstories #bookreview

Add yours

  1. Enjoyed your review a lot.. I am currently reading the book and have been struggling to get a ‘standing point on it.. however… I guess I just need to let me inner psycho come out and play. And yes, my word, is there dark humor! XD

    Liked by 1 person

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