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Friday 15 September 2017

‘Sweet Pea’ by C J Skuse

Published by HQ,
20 April 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-00821667-2 (PB)

The author wrote several YA novels before this, a black comedy with grisly crimes galore related by psychopath anti-heroine Rhiannon Lewis, in diary form.    It chronicles in chilling detail and with black humour a year in her life as the vengeful musings of a serial killer. On the surface, she’s your average girl next door, living with her adored pooch and a cheating boyfriend, and doing a humdrum job as a junior reporter on a local newspaper in an unremarkable British town. But cross her at your peril and you’ve got it coming. You’ll end up on her hit list, just as the driver who cuts her up on her way to work, the checkout assistant at the local discount supermarket who invariably mishandles her apples and the good, the bad and the ugly others.

Rhiannon is a damaged woman having experienced a dark episode as a child, is fixated on her dolls’ house and Sylvanian family so don’t dare mess with it. The hilarious accounts of her interaction with work colleagues is insightful, brilliantly written and rings true and is probably the bit of the book that I liked best.

I found the author’s ideas and storyline original, engaging and well crafted but   I ought to add a caveat that the book may not be for the faint hearted given the use of a great deal of expletives, crude language and the harrowing narration of some particularly gruesome incidents.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Weston-Super-Mare, England and has first class degrees in creative writing and writing for children and, aside from writing novels, lectures in writing for young people at Bath spa university.  She is the author of the young adult novels Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic and Dead Romantic (Chicken House) and Monster and the Deviants (Mira Ink). She has recently written the adult crime novels Sweetpea and its sequel for HQ/HarpeCcollins.

You can find C.J. Skuse on Facebook or on Twitter

 Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practiced in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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