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 whiskey. 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, Rhiannon’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 friends’ plans for marriage and babies while secretly making a list.
A kill list.
From the man at the grocery checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have it coming, Rhiannon is ready to get her revenge.
Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been lucky to read a lot of books over the years – even more since I started reviewing books. Predictably the books I’ve read have run the scale from good to bad. Unfortunately for me, my first read of 2019 was a disappointment given how much I was looking forward to it.
Sweetpea is the first book written for adults from YA author C.J. Skuse. It is written in the form of a diary, belonging to Rhiannon, an aspiring journalist who lives with her boyfriend Craig and chihuahua Tink. She hates her job, and is becoming increasingly fed up that her first novel only garners rejection after rejection and finds her group of friends irritating more often than not. She even has a fantasy “kill list” at the start of her daily entries – those who have most annoyed her on that day that she would love to snuff out. She is a seemingly ordinary, if disgruntled, young woman trying to navigate life.
But she hides a dark past that has lead to an even darker secret – Rhiannon is a cold, brutal killer. Granted, most of those she has killed are horrible people, tormentors, abusers, rapists and paedophiles. But she has taken it upon herself to play the role of judge, jury and executioner. She hides behind her normal, mundane life by day that allows her to take down those that attract her eye.
On paper, I really liked the sound of this book and had been looking forward to starting it. Sadly, I felt like it was the first book for adults written by someone used to addressing a much younger market. I felt as if the author had a sense of throwing off the shackles and being blunt and unrestrained. The language was colourful in the excess at times, with needlessly over the top insults and frequent swearing. I have no problem with swearing in a book, I feel like it adds realism when used correctly, but this was a whole new level. Certain elements felt like a desperate attempt to dive into the deepest, darkest and more depraved parts of humanity purely because this book was not a young adult story. Add to that, I could not engage with Rhiannon on any level. She struck me as having little humanity, and is overpoweringly self-indulgent. Everything came across as me, me, me and oh woe is me – it made her detestable and not in a good way. I won’t be in any hurry to read the follow up to it.