Sweet Pea by C J Skuse

This book made me feel things I’ve never felt before. I’d like to think I’m pretty hardened to gruesome thrillers and gritty subjects… but this book is something else entirely. As I was reading it, I remember saying to my friends and family that I don’t know if it’s actually possible to “enjoy” the words written on the paper pages without feeling like you’re actually a psychopath yourself!

It is brilliantly written, there is no doubt that C J Skuse has a lot of talent and has exploited a very niche area of the crime and thriller genre. Writing in the 1st person was very clever indeed because the reader can’t help but be captured by Rhiannon’s narrative and you feel like her thoughts are your thoughts… which is terrifying. I bought this book because my parents call me ‘Sweet Pea’, and I was intrigued by the blurb and tagline – “The last person who called me Sweet Pea ended up dead”…

The “kill list” idea is something that I don’t think anyone can deny having thought about, perhaps without realising it, but I think all humans possess the natural traits to harm (and potentially kill) if pushed/persuaded/triggered hard enough. Rhiannon is such a perfectly normal and relatable character with this insane dark streak that I liked… although it scared the hell out of me. I read some of the scenes genuinely wincing and with one eye closed (like it might make the impact of the words half as bad) thinking “oh god this is hell” to myself… but still couldn’t put it down. I did take more breaks than I normally do, to walk around, get some fresh air and give myself a shake up to remind myself that I’m not actually Rhiannon.

All in all… it’s dark, sordid, explicit, gruesome, totally unique and worth reading if you can stomach a hardcore psychological thriller. Definitely an X-rated book for 18+ readers though, it’s pretty detailed in a lot of ways including the death and sex departments. I feel almost morally compromised to say ” I recommend you read this!”… because I honestly don’t know if anyone should be reading it. Ever. But, if you do pick it up – ‘Good Luck’ – and don’t say I didn’t warn you! – GJ

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