Sweetpea by C. J. Skuse

I mentioned over on twitter that this series is the most recommended to me by fellow blogger chums (WARNING: Rhiannon trigger word!!) and friends. Now I’ve finished both books; I ended up reading them back to back as I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next, I totally get why everyone has been raving about these books – they are SENSATIONAL!

With the quote “Think Bridget Jones meets American Psycho” on the front cover, I was wondering what to expect. I was full of nervous excitement as I opened the first page!

The story is told in the style of a diary from Rhiannon’s perspective. Most of the diary entries start with a kill list, totally normal eh?! She writes about who has annoyed her and the more they appear on the kill list, the more likely it is that something is going to happen to them.

Rhiannon is an editorial assistant at the local newspaper by day and vigilante by night. The people that she kills have either hurt her directly or have slipped through the system and cause anguish for the locals. At first no one spots the connection but then her colleague, an eager reporter, has latched on to the theory that the murders have all been committed by a single killer. Uh oh…

She should stop, she knows she should but she just can’t stop her thoughts drifting in that direction and she’s just bought new knives….

I’ve only said this once before with Judith from the Maestra series but I can’t believe I’m actually wanting a serial killer to be my best friend!? Rhiannon is so easy to relate to! All those pissed off thoughts in your head, she has them too, but 100 times more intense and honest! Ok, so mine aren’t as dark, and I don’t write them down on a kill list or actually go out and murder the person that has irritated me… but her sarcastic, real-as-f**k comments will make you laugh out loud and have you nodding along.

Without a doubt, this book is not for the light hearted, who gasp at swear words, squirm at sex references and struggle with gore. You need to know what you’re letting yourself in for before jumping in, as if you can’t get past the explicit references throughout; you won’t be able to appreciate the wit, the depth and the sheer cleverness of this plot – because it’s blimming marvellous!

In this first book of the series, we watch Rhiannon (not to be shortened – take note!) deal with office drama, relationship woes and friends who obsess over weddings and babies. Whilst also Skuse takes this opportunity to explore Rhiannon’s tragic childhood, which provides the background story for us to understand how she’s become the killer she is.

What’s great about this plot is that it will attract thriller lovers and give them the surprise of opening them up to more of a dark comedy genre based series, pushing them outside of their usual comfort zone, because apart from the murders, this book is just bloody* funny!

*Again take note: this book has triggered me to start swearing!

Without a doubt, I can see why this book was recommended to me and I really cannot get enough of C. J. Skuse’s dark and frank writing style.

Now I just need to write my review on book two… SPOILER: it was just as good!

Books One and Two of the Sweetpea series are out now in paperback and eBook versions  from HQ. *Gifted – I was lucky enough to grab both of these at a HQ event*

Until next time, Chloé x

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