Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Book Review: 'Pretty Wicked (Pretty Wicked #1)' by Kelly Charron

Pretty Wicked (Pretty Wicked, #1)
‘A good End cannot sanctify evil Means; nor must we ever do Evil, that Good may come of it.’ - William Penn

The beautiful young Canadian author Kelly Charron writes YA and adult horror, psychological and urban fantasy novels - all with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. With this book she opens a series aptly title Pretty Wicked for which this is Book 1. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Some authors who tackle subjects such as serial killers or mass murders or pathological minds that thrive on killing clutter the subject matter with an excess of gore so that the storyline becomes diluted. That is not the case with Kelly Charron: she opts to relate her horror story from within the brain of the perpetrator and this makes her tale not only gruesome but also adds enough strange humor to provide escape windows. 

Witness the manner Kelly introduces her grim series Pretty Wicked: ‘Some people are called to certain things in their life. That’s what hunting is for me. An urge. A desire. The closest thing I have to a calling. My name is Ryann Wilkanson. I’m fifteen years old. And I’m a killer. * It was hard to pick my first. Call me sentimental, but it had to be just right. I knew what I wanted. What I needed. Someone worth the risk, the challenge. Somebody who deserved it. Now, I’m not talking about the horrible, abusive assholes you see on TV. I wanted someone who I thought deserved it… And to be honest, that could’ve been just about anybody. Some people might think it’s odd to contemplate killing someone, but it was the most natural thing in the world to me. I didn’t dare talk about it—I somehow knew that much—but my thoughts raced with vivid, red-tinted images. While my fantasies were fun, I had to wait. I still lacked the skill and organization to actually go through with it. And, as I matured, I realized part of me was still hesitant. A piece of the puzzle was missing. It was as though I was waiting for permission. Something to give me the final push into action.’

And so we meet the title character and as the synopsis organizes this story, ‘The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen. But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.’

What a way to take a reader for venture 1! Kelly writes very well indeed with just the right balance between dark and light. She obviously has a fine career ahead – especially in her chosen genre. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.