Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book Review: Sugar & Spice by Saffina Desforges

A few months back, a man dared to self-publish a guide to “responsible pedophilia” on Amazon, causing a huge outcry of disgust – and rightly so. The very concept of adults engaging in sexual acts with children causes bile to rise in the throat of most people, including me. Sugar & Spice, by Saffina Desforges (actually the penname of two authors working together), taps into that natural revulsion and then, in what I would consider a master stroke, manages to make a pedophile a sympathetic character.

The novel follows the search for a serial killer responsible for horrific child murders in England and Wales, with enough details of true crime woven in to give the whole work a feeling of reality. Several late nights, I was forced to put the book down because I feared I would have nightmares if I continued to read.

The authors write from various points of view, from the mother of a victim to a man struggling against his own pedophiliac impulses. The suspenseful build-up was impeccable and scarily believable, the ending satisfying on most counts. My only complaint is that the authors chose to leave a loose end that I would have preferred to see wrapped up. However, that doesn’t detract from the overall effectiveness of the book.

I did note a fair amount of typos (around 25-30), though most people will likely read right past them. American readers should also be aware that this is a British book and the authors use words that may not be familiar to them.

If you enjoy being horrified and repulsed on an emotional level, I recommend reading this book. If you love suspense novels, read this book. If you have ever wondered how pedophiles can live with themselves, this one’s for you. However, if you are an overprotective, hyper-vigilant parents, please – for your own sake as well as your kids’ – don’t come anywhere near this one. You’ll never let your children leave the house again. 

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