Pretty Wicked (Pretty Wicked #1) by Kelly Charron (2016)
YA Fiction | Thriller
“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.
Written in a mature YA voice. Some graphic content.”
pooled ink Review:
Commit a crime and the world is made of glass. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
First of all thank you to Kelly Charron for sending me a copy of her book to review! I was so excited to stumble across her work when participating in the book blitz for WICKED FALLOUT so I was eager to have the chance to read all about Ryann.
This book was really addicting to read and I loved following the story as Ryann escalated her games and the police slowly closed in on the truth. I was instantly absorbed into the story from the start and then I suddenly stopped reading and thought Why am I enjoying a book about a teenage serial killer??
In some ways it’s pretty twisted to enjoy this type of entertainment but I think most people have at least some amount of morbid curiosity. Besides who doesn’t have at least one cop show/murder mystery that they love to watch? Personally my favorites include Psych, Lucifer, Monk, Midsomer Murders, Law & Order, Grantchester, and others. The thing about those shows in particular are that they all solve crimes but each with a unique angle/twist. As for this book we get to watch the crimes committed first hand with a front seat POV.
I’d say this is a good read for crime-thriller fans who love getting glimpses into villains’ heads.
The thrill comes not from “who did it?” since we know exactly who’s doing it, but from who’s going to be next and how. Also from wondering just how tangled a web she can weave before getting herself caught.
Actually the plot becomes even more complex when Unknown starts hunting the hunter forcing Ryann to fight enemies on two fronts: the police and someone who just might know her dirty little secret. With every character introduced, every action that unfolds, every dance step between predator and prey, the plot consistently evolves keeping you intrigued and on your toes. Subtle subplots and mysteries intertwined themselves around the major plot of Ryann’s killing spree adding an even larger void of security for everyone, even Ryann.
Ryann is a very pretty fifteen-year old cheerleader and top student with loyal friends, an average American family, a sweet soul, and the talent and opportunities to be anything she wants to be in life.
Ryann is smart, determined, manipulative, effective, and undeniably unhinged. She’s insane in a terrifyingly calm, collected, and unfeeling sort of way. She dreams of becoming a legend, her legacy made of blood and cleverness.
But she’s not a simply “bad” person frustratingly enough; she just sees justice and pleasure a little too black and white for most people’s moral tastes. She has loyalty and kindness for those truly close to her, even if she does march through life with a carefully fabricated façade, but she is cold and unfeeling towards those she deems worth being killed (well, emotionless except for the exhilaration and elation and glee that sweeps through her giving her a delicious addictive euphoric high with every life she snuffs out). It seems in her mind she does not kill innocents, although she can’t deny the pleasure she gets from wielding the power to usher in their deaths. She relishes the challenge and the creativity such an endeavor demands.
Like I said, it’s an addicting euphoric rush for Ryann and she grows more hungry for it with every kill leading her to seek out targets faster and with a stronger need leading to recklessness, desperation, and improvisation. She takes life after life doing her best to hide this secret darkness in her wanting to impress her heroes, infamous serial killers in history a.k.a. The Greats.
I think one of Ryann’s greatest weaknesses was her pride, or maybe just over confidence. She had such careful control over herself most of the time, she didn’t take trophies, she didn’t leave a signature or mark, and she managed to wrangle her pride most days, but as the police started sniffing her control began slipping and all the while she wanted to scream from the rooftops to claim credit for her masterful crimes and become a legend to join The Greats. She was so confident in her crimes that when tiny mistakes began to appear it shook her up and, well, things sort of snowballed a bit (which of course just made things all the more exciting).
I thought that the writing for this book was very good, it had an intriguing story, the pace never dulled or slowed, there were some definite surprises and twists along the way, the murders and forensics were believable and detailed, and it can be read as a standalone novel (although if you want more there is a sequel and I look forward to reading it).
Hey, I dunno, sometimes crime novels are pretty dull to me but something about this one kept me rapt with attention and on the edge of my seat. Oh gosh, the growing level of anxiety and panic as Ryann’s hunting sped up with every kill had me flying through this book turning page after page. The growing chaos felt by Ryann flowed through the story right into me and I read wide-eyed as to how it would all end and how far she would go.
Pretty Wicked is the exhilarating first-person account of Ryann Wilkanson: sweet and innocent by day, lusting for blood by night. Following the steps of a serial killer’s debut from her very own point of view, this book will capture your attention, slaughter the hours, twist your expectations, and revel in your horror. Prepare for a story of fiction that will have you questioning everyone you thought you knew.
Purchase here: Pretty Wicked
Meet Kelly Charron!
Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.