Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

Rebecca James had an amazing debut novel, Beautiful Malice in 2010 and she’s back with another book full of psychological suspense with Sweet Damage. From memory, Beautiful Malice pushed the boundary as to whether is was a book for teenagers or adults, and this one, I think, goes over the edge. Because of the ages of the characters (in their 20s) and the content (sex, drinking, swearing), this would probably be considered to fit into the new genre of ‘new adult’ fiction. It’s probably even marketed as an adult title, but we have ended up with it on our shelves, so I will include it in this blog.

The main character is Tim, trying to sort his life out. He has returned to Australia after travelling, and has been sharing a flat with his ex-girlfriend. When he sees a add for a cheap room, in a huge house, with great views and is walking distance to work, Tim jumps at the chance. The only condition is that he has to look out for his new housemate Anna, who suffers from agoraphobia. Anna is odd and the house is spooky, and when Anna’s tragic story comes to light all of the pieces fall into place.

The story is told through two characters, Tim and Anna. Through Anna’s chapters we learn of the events that have lead her to where she is today. It has elements of a thriller with a bit of mystery thrown in and the suspense slowly builds until we finally see the big picture at the end of the book and go….aaahhh, of course. To me the book reads a lot like a movie, and for that reason I think it will appeal to older teenagers who are not real readers.

For Adelaide readers, Rebecca James will be appearing at The Body in the Garden, South Australian Garden and Crime Writers' Festival being held in October.

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