SWEET PEA by C J SKUSE
Published by HQ in 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