Review & Giveaway: Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

Title: Sweet Damage

Author: Rebecca James

Published: Allen and Unwin April 2013

Read an excerpt

Status: Read from March 27 to 28, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Allen & Unwin}

My Thoughts:

Sweet Damage is the second novel by Rebecca James. Her first, Beautiful Malice, gained international success for it’s chilling story of twisted friendship.

In Sweet Damage, Tim, an easy going, twenty something kitchen hand who has been staying on his ex-girlfriends couch since his return from an overseas trip. When she insists he finds his own space he is thrilled to find an inexpensive room in a large house in the leafy Australian suburb of Fairlight. The only catch is his young, agoraphobic enigmatic housemate, and landlord, Alice, who is not only haunted by unspeakable tragedy, but perhaps something altogether more sinister.

I was immediately drawn to the premise of Sweet Damage, tantalised by the gothic overtones and the promise of a chilling mystery and I was barely a quarter of the way through when the first wave of shivers rolled over me. It wasn’t the last time I felt that tingle of dread, the measured pace allows the suspense to build as the narrative weaves in and out of the past and present, before twisting unexpectedly.

Anna is such an interesting protagonist, and the ambiguity surrounding her character plays beautifully into the suspense. Her agoraphobia, her secretiveness and her difficulty interacting with Tim suggests she has something to hide and as strange things begin to happen in the house, it is understandable that Tim suspects her, especially since she is unable to deny any wrongdoing.

Tim is a little wary of Anna and her odd behaviour but with the arrogance of youth he is not really threatened by the odd occurrences at Fairview. Tim is more concerned with his on again/off again relationship with Lilla, his ex-girlfriend, with whom he admits an obsession. However Anna ignites his protective instinct and he is drawn to her vulnerability which contrasts so vividly with Lilla’s brash personality.

The writing is finely crafted to create an atmospheric and gripping story of psychological suspense. Several suspects move in and out of the frame as the mystery unfolds. As the story reaches it’s climax I thought perhaps Anna and Tim piece things together perhaps a little too quickly but the final confrontation is shocking and not everyone will see it coming.

I devoured Sweet Damage in a few hours, it is an easy yet engrossing read. I think it can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages (16 and up) and recommend it to those who enjoy spine tingling suspense.

Earlier today I posted a Q&A with Rebecca, make sure you take a look!

Sweet Damage is available for purchase

@Allen & Unwin I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia I @Amazon Kindle

via Booko

ENTER TO WIN

Allen & Unwin is offering my Australian readers the opportunity to win

1 of 3 print editions of Sweet Damage

To enter

ENTRIES CLOSED

Entries close April 21st. Winner is drawn via Random.org

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austlitmonth

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tara N
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 19:12:53

    This is a fairly new genre to me, and I’m currently enjoying one of my first – and this book looks even more suspenseful and an eye opener.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Admin
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 19:42:56

    I would love to win this.
    The storyline sounds promising.
    Another book added to my TBR pile.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Angel
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 21:05:17

    this sounds really interesting,

    Like

    Reply

  4. kimberleygriffiths
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 22:55:45

    I’ve never heard of this book but it looks super interesting!

    Like

    Reply

  5. katyasnowqueen
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 13:31:55

    Haven’t heard of this book but it sounds like something I’d love to read

    Like

    Reply

  6. Trackback: AWW Feature: Q&A with Rebecca James, author of Sweet Damage | book'd out
  7. Daystarz Books
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 15:14:39

    Interested in this one so have put my entry in. thanks Shelleyrae

    Like

    Reply

  8. Katy Trimmer Ewer
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 15:38:34

    Agoraphobia is such an interesting mental illness, and an interesting character choice. What research did you use to give the character of Anna and her mental illness credibility. ..

    Like

    Reply

  9. Braiden @ Book Probe
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 15:44:22

    I’ve been waiting for Sweet Damage for what seems forever. And I’m ashamed I haven’t yet had the chance to get myself a copy and read it. I LOVED Beautiful Malice and I’m hoping for great things from Sweet Damage. Your review backs that up greatly!

    Like

    Reply

  10. Amra Pajalic
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 16:19:41

    I read Beautiful Malice and loved it. Can’t wait to read this second. This review has really piqued by interest.

    Like

    Reply

  11. Nat Haraida
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 20:34:38

    Love the sound of this book, saw it in the store last week and was already hooked by the blurb on the back and now reading your preview makes me want to read it more… Looking forward to it …

    Like

    Reply

  12. Amanda Fox
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 20:57:10

    Just started reading Beautiful Malice now. Sweet Damage sounds good too. Great to see Aussie authors succeeding.

    Like

    Reply

  13. Mary Preston
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 21:04:27

    Reading through your post I can that SWEET DAMAGE is so much more than I had first thought.

    Like

    Reply

  14. Katrina Whittaker
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 21:09:41

    Great review ! Cant wait to read this one😉 thanks for the great giveaway !

    Like

    Reply

  15. Marg
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 21:45:44

    Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Like

    Reply

  16. rlsharpe
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 10:38:57

    Thank you for this giveaway. I would love to win this. I have read Beautiful Malice and it blew me away. I have been dying to read Sweet Damage.

    Like

    Reply

  17. Catherine
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 11:34:16

    Sounds very interesting, and thank you for the giveaway

    Like

    Reply

  18. Teddyree
    Apr 04, 2013 @ 20:14:01

    I love a suspense that gives you chills. Fab review, I’d love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway too🙂

    Like

    Reply

  19. raventracks
    Apr 05, 2013 @ 07:43:54

    Two of my students loved Beautiful Malice. I found it rather unnerving, myself!🙂 Interesting. It was horror fiction without any supernatural elements.

    Like

    Reply

  20. AmberB
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 00:35:15

    This sounds like a book I’d love reading

    Like

    Reply

  21. Rebecca Bird
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:26:37

    Sounds like it has plenty of suspense and would be a great read🙂

    Like

    Reply

  22. Rachel @ Skull and Crosstales
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 10:22:19

    Sounds like a great read, thanks for the chance to win.

    Like

    Reply

  23. Denise Maclaren
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 14:47:19

    This sounds like an enjoyable book. I’d love to give it a go. Thank you for the chance.

    Like

    Reply

  24. arethazhen
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 20:13:07

    TO be honest this is a new genre for me but am always excited to try to read something new!:)

    Like

    Reply

  25. The Australian Bookshelf
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 08:00:46

    I’ll have to add this one to my wishlist after your great review Shelleyrae. I really loved Beautiful Malice and this one sounds just as great.

    Like

    Reply

  26. Dale harcombe
    Apr 15, 2013 @ 13:20:56

    I’ve read one of her books and would be interested to read another.

    Like

    Reply

  27. KateB
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 14:35:17

    I recently bought Beautiful Malice and am really enjoying it. I’m glad to hear that you Sweet Damage sounds fascinating.

    Like

    Reply

  28. Trackback: April 2013 Round Up: Contemporary Fiction | Australian Women Writers Challenge
  29. thebrownpaperbagatnight727
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 20:23:35

    Beautiful malice was a enchanting book with twists and turns that make the books so thrilling and there’s a surprise at the end which will make you want more. Sweet Damage opens up similarly to Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier but I would not compare Rebecca to Sweet Damage even thought the story line is kinda similar. Sweet Damage is amazingly written and has you reading every word and makes you addicted; wanting to know more, it can be a drug I guess. But that’s just me I mean in Books were a drug I’d be an addict. but overall Rebecca James write lovely books that are chilling but in good a way, make you think but not too hard, they are addictive and mid blowing and the end result of reading her books is how the hell did Rebecca James think of this story???

    Like

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  30. Trackback: Review: Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James | book'd out

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