BOOK REVIEW by Rockin & Reviewing Books

5* Rockin & Reviewing Book Review

The Penance List by S C Cunningham

It always worries me when I fall deeper and deeper into a creepy and sinister plot while vastly enjoying the experience.  I fear there may be something wrong with me to become so enthralled and transfixed on such a twisted and disturbing story.  But in my defense, this superbly penned stunner quickly mesmerized me and held me in thrall with razor-sharp and well-crafted writing.  The storylines were ingenious and compelling, cleverly insightful, and often witty and amusing. I had a hard time putting my Kindle down any longer than necessary for those pesky chores such as sleeping and seeking sustenance.  The characters were fascinating, original, complex, and enticing, yet deeply flawed - some more than others. 

The taut narrative was skillfully written in the third person omniscient POV of practically everyone, including taxi drivers, waiters, and receptionists; with frequent dashes of clever humor, intense sensual scenes, and a mesmerizing and suspense-filled build-up to the gruesomely plotted climax.  But I also want to mention there were also haunting, dark, and grisly descriptions of abuse and violence.  It was highly evocative and often elicited a powerful response whether empathic or severely creepy.  But did you notice this was Book #1?  While the cliffhanger wasn’t vile and heinous, the story is not complete, damn it, but it did reach a comfortable stopping point.    

To end on a positive note, I also picked up some new vocabulary words, several of which would never pass the Amazon censors but I believe sloaney will make it, which is apparently a young party animal from a posh and wealthy family with more money than sense.  Hmm, I would have aspired to being a sloaney young adult in my day. 

Favorite Quotes:

We’re a bit old for older men don’t ya think? Ours would come with a wheelchair and bus pass. It would be more useful to learn a few resuscitation techniques... a good bit of slap’n tickle and a cheeky bit of CPR, very sexy.
 
Tara had a sweet way of talking naughty whilst making it sound as if she were discussing pruning petunias.
 
She was hardly WAG material, being over thirty, more like GAG material, ‘grandmothers and girlfriends’.
 
… and to think she’d grown up wanting to be a nun – as a girl, she’d loved their outfits, particularly the long blue dresses with the white veils. She could do the ‘doing good’ bit easily enough; it was the ‘being good’ bit where she failed.
 
The hovering Enzo stared at her. Maybe he should consider becoming gay. You learned so much about women working in the restaurant business.