Title: Dead Head

Author: CJ Skuse

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Victim. Murderer. Serial Killer. What next?

The third darkly comic thriller in the highly addictive Sweetpea series featuring serial killer Rhiannon Lewis.

‘Think Bridget Jones meets Killing Eve – only with better jokes’ Daily Mail

Can a serial killer ever lose their taste for murder?

Since confessing to her bloody murder spree Rhiannon Lewis, the now-notorious Sweetpea killer, has been feeling out-of-sorts.

Having fled the UK on a cruise ship to start her new life, Rhiannon should be feeling happy. But it’s hard to turn over a new leaf when she’s stuck in an oversized floating tin can with the Gammonati and screaming kids. Especially when they remind her of Ivy – the baby she gave up for a life carrying on killing.

Rhiannon is all at sea. She’s lost her taste for blood but is it really gone for good? Maybe Rhiannon is realising that there’s more to life than death…

The third book in the critically-acclaimed series following Sweetpea and In Bloom featuring everyone’s favourite truly original girl-next-door serial killer Rhiannon Lewis.

The Review

I’m not one for reading book series. I find that they can be too much of a commitment however the Sweetpea series by CJ Skuse is one exception to this rule.

In Dead Head, the third installment, we find our psycho-protagonist Rhiannon Lewis on the lam. Running away from her old life and the chaos that she has caused whilst also dealing with the yearning ache for her child Ivy. We see her travel across the world to escape the storm of drama she has left and the debris of her crimes in the UK but we also know that Rhiannon cannot truly leave herself – her true self – behind. Will she kill again? Probably.

The third installment in this series is different from the first two in that we see a more introspective Rhiannon. This could be that it is told in the past/present tense. So looking back but told in the present tense. It is as though this gives us chance – and indeed Rhiannon – to consider her actions and gives us time to process them alongside her rather than seeing the red mist descend and then the chaos. This doesn’t make them any less bat crap crazy but it does give us time to think.

Rhiannon Lewis will probably be one of my most remembered protagonists in fiction. Her actions and her unshakable belief in vigilante justice has left a lasting impression and I am hoping that there will be more in this series.

Dead Head by CJ Skuse is available now.

For more information regarding CJ Skuse (@CJSkuse) please visit www.cjskuse.com.

For more information regarding (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: Sweet Pea

Author: CJ Skuse

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

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 alcholic 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…

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I don’t know what this says about me but I really enjoyed Sweet Pea.

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse is the story of Rhiannon, a girl on a crusade to right wrongs, to help the helpless and hurt the haters. So she is a bit of a serial killer….we all have flaws, right?

In all seriousness, Sweet Pea was a really entertaining read. What made it so entertaining was the sheer frivolity with which Rhiannon committed her crimes. She acted in a glib detached manner and she was really sold by SJ Ckuse as being a character so at ease with murder it was almost disturbing.

I don’t want to worry you but you will laugh at this story…at least I hope you will. Maybe it was just me that laughed. Oh dear.

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse is available now.

For more information regarding CJ Skuse (@CJSkuse) please visit www.cjskusebooks.wixsite.com/cjskuse.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

4 Stars

The DeviantsTitle: The Deviants

Author: CJ Skuse

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Mira Ink/Harlequin

The Blurb

When you set out for revenge, dig two graves

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

The Review

I’ve read a lot of books this summer; some have been bad, most have been good and some have been bloody excellent. My latest read, The Deviants by CJ Skuse – an author I had never come across before but came highly recommended by Clare over at A Book and Tea – was bloody excellent.

With Clare’s recommendation in mind I started reading The Deviants.

Holy moly.

I can honestly say that I have never read such an intense YA thriller before. The story centres upon five people who were really close as children but with the passing of time have mostly drifted apart; due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control their lives begin to interweave again and once that happens the steady foundations that they have built begin to crumble apart.

CJ Skuse has written a very clever story of secrecy and lies, friends and enemies, and how life always throws you in at the deep-end. It is, by far, one of favourite books of the year. The Deviants is full of shock twists and turns and it really did blow my mind. I am sure it will blow yours too. If you like your YA fiction to pack a punch and to leave you a bit breathless then The Deviants needs to be your next read.

The Deviants by CJ Skuse is available now.

For more information regarding CJ Skuse (@CeejaytheAuthor) please visit www.andrewnurnberg.com/authors/c-j-skuse/

For more information regarding Mira Ink (@mira_booksUK) please visit www.miraink.co.uk.

5 Stars