Whilst in Santorini for the week, I read three thriller books. Here are my reviews of them below.
Sweetpea by C. J. Skuse
Dark, outrageous, humorous
My wife unintentionally recommended this book to me. She told me about the premise of it to illustrate her dislike of the story and the main character. Her description though caught my attention.
I made a start on the book and quickly thought it was quirky and original. It was a refreshing change to have a foul mouthed, dirty minded female lead in Rhiannon. The best way to describe her is that she has shades of Fleabag and Killing Eve’s Villanelle.
I will say, I believe C. J. is testing the reader early on as the tone of Rhiannon is far more crude in the opening stages of the book. If it’s not for you, just persevere. This risk though didn’t pay off in terms of keeping my wife hooked into the book – she immediately disliked Rhiannon. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it and really took to Rhiannon’s personality and tone of voice.
The story itself is a fresh take on serial killers. We’ve seen it many times before with the likes of Hannibal and the TV series Dexter, but Sweetpea is another extension of that. Similar to Villanelle in Killing Eve.
It’s a book that follows Rhiannon and her devilish ways. I don’t want to say too much more but it is a thrill that keeps you hooked.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Believe Me by JP Delaney
Brilliant start, but lost its way.
Ok so some of the reviews I think are quite harsh. However, the start of this novel is brilliant. If it kept to that tempo throughout the book it would have been one of my favourite reads. Ever.
I finished this book in one day.
The start of it is intoxicating. A really unique premise – the main character, also an actress, Claire, works for a firm of divorce lawyers. A great combination this, actress posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands to win a case.
We see her in action quickly, fooling a man and getting the job done expertly. But not all is as it seems, because Claire is quickly pulled into a murder investigation, where the man’s wife has been murdered.
I think JP Delaney really portrays a female lead very well. I don’t think she was particularly likeable, but that also made the read interesting because you don’t know who you can trust in the story. Midway through the book, it does lose traction unfortunately and I did find myself reading for the conclusion rather than out of enjoyment.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
The Friend by Teresa Driscoll
Disappointingly predictable, but I did still want to finish!
It seems that a lot of other readers enjoyed this one. However, I thought it was disappointingly predictable.
If you read the synopsis then the story doesn’t stretch much further than that. I was compelled to read the book as there was more to solve than what the synopsis was letting on. Some nice enough writing and moments in the book, I liked the use of time.
I read this after enjoying ‘I Am Watching You’.
Rating: *** (2.5 stars)