"It's an exciting privilege to watch someone die, knowing you caused it. Almost worth getting dolled up for."
Sweetpea will be released in the UK this Thursday (20th April 2017). It is written by C J Skuse and published by HQ.
If Georgia Nicolson (Angus, Thongs and Ful-Frontal Snogging) grew up and developed some seriously disturbing urges, this would be the diary she'd write.
A slightly more accessible example is Dexter meets Bridget Jones, but with infinitely more grit.
I read Sweetpea a couple of weeks ago when I had a horrible cold and this book was a brilliant distraction; funny, disturbing and unexpected. It's the diary of a serial killer with very relatable kill lists and a twisted sense of humour. This won't be everyone's cup of tea but I loved this refreshing book.
(FYI, bad language coming up. If you don't like swearing then don't read this review and don't read the book.)
Sweetpea is so much fun, in a very dark way. Rhiannon is a great creation; there are a lot of serial killer novels out there but a female serial killer is rare, and one with depth, humour and a penchant for discussing bodily functions is even rarer.
Rhiannon is worryingly relatable. I'm sure I'm not the only one who read her kill lists and found myself agreeing.
She's also fantastic at insults, some gems include:
"becankled little pig face"
"cheese-breeding tripe hound"
and perhaps my favourite...
"The woman is a mouldering codpiece on the diseased cock of a Shakespearean leper."
Sometimes Rhiannon's real life is a tad too predictable; it's good to have 'normal' problems on top of serial killer ones but there were a few incidents that felt too obvious and a little sitcom-esque.
However, Skuse manages to keep it fresh with Rhiannon's attitude towards it all.
If you're thinking this is just a cheap thrill book with death and swearing thrown around for kicks, it actually has unexpected depth, especially in the way that Rhiannon tries to understand the world and her own urgings.
"It's hard to find Happy, isn't it? It lands only briefly before it flies off, like a butterfly."
The serial killer with a heart thing has been done a lot, and before I started reading I was wondering if Sweetpea was going to be a bit tired, but it's not at all. True, Rhiannon seems to be the perfect 'helpful' psychopathic killer.
"Defend the defenceless - children, animals, women in danger."
It's a little unbelievable that a serial killer would refrain from killing small animals, but as an animal lover myself it made better reading and I liked the added dimension of her battling against her urges and her beliefs.
Actually, it's a rather worrying read when you realise you're agreeing a lot with a serial killer. But then Skuse throws in these moments that are seriously disturbing and you realise that this is a person with a totally different mindset. It's truly fascinating.
Sweetpea is a disturbing look at a unique and twisted character, which will also make you snort with laughter and question your belief in yourself as a good person.
My Rating: 4/5
I received a digital copy of Sweetpea via NetGalley in return for an honest review. My thanks to the author and publisher.