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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: SWEETPEA, CJ Skuse

Sweetpea, by CJ Skuse. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

‘A serial killer with one-liners sharp enough to slice a throat’


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 whisky. 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, Rhinannon’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 friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…


Dripping with sarcasm and humour so dark it makes you wince, Sweetpea brings a refreshingly different voice to the crime genre.

The main character, Rhiannon, is a serial killer with one-liners sharp enough to slice a throat, as she writes her private thoughts down in her diary. For the reader, that means enjoying guilty laugh-out-loud moments juxtaposed with gory crimes and everyday complaints about shopping, work and relationships.

I’m not going to write a lot about it, because the fun of this book is in discovering it for yourself. It’s shockingly good – but not one for the faint-hearted or easily offended. It did get a little repetitive, and my criticism is that it could have delivered even more punch to the story, but I found it unique, funny, and even containing some touches of sad poignancy. I LOVED this book!

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