In Bloom by C.J. Skuse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 384
Publisher - HQ Stories
Source - Review copy (ARC)
Blurb from Goodreads
The darkly comic crime sequel to Sweetpea, following girl-next-door serial killer Rhiannon as she’s now caught between the urge to kill and her unborn baby stopping her.
If only they knew the real truth. It should be my face on those front pages. My headlines. I did those things, not him. I just want to stand on that doorstep and scream it: IT WAS ME. ME. ME. ME. ME!
Rhiannon Lewis has successfully fooled the world and framed her cheating fiancé Craig for the depraved and bloody killing spree she committed. She should be ecstatic that she’s free.
Except for one small problem. She’s pregnant with her ex-lover’s child. The ex-lover she only recently chopped up and buried in her in-laws' garden. And as much as Rhiannon wants to continue making her way through her kill lists, a small voice inside is trying to make her stop.
But can a killer’s urges ever really be curbed?
Firstly let me say this is the second book in a series, I absolutely advise reading the first, Sweetpea, available to buy now. This book picks up where Sweetpea leaves off, Rhiannon is pregnant, her boyfriend is in jail awaiting trial for several gruesome murders, murders Rhiannon committed herself. Trying to come to terms with pending motherhood, the changes in her body, her bossy fetus and of course her constant need to kill,Rhiannon has her hands full.
If you haven't read Skuse, and I am not sure of her other works but these books are absolutely not for the easily offended. Rhiannon is a brutal killer wih no morals, she has a gob on her that could make a sailor blush, she is self absorbed, horny, crude, sarcastic, hilarious (in a very non pc way), dangerous and one of the most psychotic female serial killers created!
Each chapter (well almost every chapter), like the previous book opens with a list of people she would like to kill that day, if circumstances permitted. She is trying to deal with her changing body, roller coaster emotions, blood thirsty ways oh and the police who are investigating her partner which means questions questions questions.
The book started off a bit of a different pace for me and I wasn't sure if I was going to like this as much as the first, sequels often have the hard job of keeping up with the previous offering. Needless worry, in fact this is one of the very few times I rated the sequel higher than the original which is no mean feat and hats off to the author. Once the book gets going it ensnares you and I found it hard to put the book down, some of it like a car crash you just can't look away. She is a terrible person, a brutal murderer but you find yourself rooting for her, a vigilante who doesn't like animals being hurt so she will always get points off me for that!
Her relationship with a specific character I really liked but it also had me a bit beside myself, by exposing herself to friendships she increases the risk of exposure. At one point it reminded me of, or rather, it echoed Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling's weird relationship but in a good way, absolutely not a criticism. This book is an absolute mind trip, Rhiannon is a unique killer I think and I have read hundred of books with murderers but this is my first pregnant killer who goes on a bit of a journey herself to "mend" her ways but will she be successful? How easy is it to quit your murderous ways, how do you change your future when your past just won't go away and most importantly can she keep it together when all eyes are on her? Packed with bad language, murderous behaviour, sex, lies, kill lists, an outrageous book with a main character holy water and a priest would struggle to bring from the dark side, I loved it! 5/5 for me this time, I will be checking out the rest of Skuse's work and wait impatiently for the next book! Available to buy from today, grab your copy now!