sweet damage book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Ever since reading Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, I’ve been anxiously awaiting another thriller-type mystery from this author. I got my wish with Sweet Damage; all I needed was to see her name on the cover, and I knew it was my very next read.

The plotline and characters are slowly introduced from the alternating first person account from Tim’s perspective and the third person narrative shown from Anna’s point of view. Tim rents a room from Anna, a wealthy twenty-year-old with a tragic past who suffers from agoraphobia. Over time, Tim and Anna grow close, causing Tim’s ex-girlfriend Lilla to interfere in their lives and affect their growing bond.

Sweet Damage is a quick read, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it a page-turner. It didn’t quite have the same chilling effect on me that Beautiful Malice did, but I wanted to find out the whole truth that led up to Anna’s unhappiness. In the beginning, I had one belief regarding her personal tragedy, and was actually quite surprised to find out it was something else entirely.

To James’s credit, it took me until nearly the end to put all of the puzzle pieces together. There weren’t enough hints throughout the beginning of the novel to come to any solid conclusions, and for that reason I didn’t feel the book’s plot line was as tightly written as it could have been. The “villain” of the novel was quite predictable, though I think hints should’ve been dropped a lot sooner about this person.

As for the plot twist, it wasn’t really anything new for this genre. In a way, it almost felt like a retelling of another story or movie that I had already read or seen. I still had quite a bit of fun reading Sweet Damage, and I’m hoping that it won’t be another four years before we see another book from this author.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Random House. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.