REVIEW: Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse
When she was good, she was very, very good. When she was bad, she was deadly.
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…
Publisher: HQ (20 April 2017)
I’ve heard a few people say Sweetpea is a lot like marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it; unless you’re an odd one like me and have no strong feelings one way or the other. Of course, in this case the analogy still happens to work for me… I wanted to love it, I really did, but it just kind of missed the mark.
Sweetpea is darkly comedic, crude, graphic and violent with a main character that will have you questioning your own sanity as you find yourself agreeing with her kill lists and cheering her on. Written in the form of diary entries we follow the story of Rhiannon, a psychopath with a traumatic past and homicidal tendencies. It has all the ingredients of a great book but somehow manages to lose itself along the way. The back story gives an insight into why she is how she is but doesn’t really go any further than this. It could have added so much more to the story and the character, instead it felt like it lacked any real depth.
Rhiannon’s crimes, arguably the most interesting and important parts of the story, are actually given very little coverage. In the pages they are covered we get graphic and violent descriptions that still manage to carry the character’s dark humour and it seems a shame that more time wasn’t invested in the murders. As the story progresses it becomes difficult to reconcile the the erratic and reckless Rhiannon she becomes with the meticulous one from the start… there’s only so much you can blame on hormones and this transformation just doesn’t really ring true. What we’re essentially left with is a chick-lit, albeit an extremely dark and twisted one, with some murders thrown in.
Sweetpea is a riotous, darkly entertaining read that you’ll either love or hate (unless you’re an odd one like me), and while a highly addictive read, falls slightly short of the greatness it teases.