Friday, 16 December 2016

Rattle - Fiona Cummins - phenomenal thriller

Rattle – Fiona Cummins

When you hear as much about a book in advance of publication as I have about Rattle it usually means one of two things:

a) The Book has an outstandingly good publicist promoting it or

b) It’s a phenomenally good book.

Regarding Rattle – Both are true.

But it’s also a debut novel and although new authors often come up with great ideas for books, (after all many of them have been nurturing the storyline for most of their lives) it’s always a bit of a leap into the dark, writing skill can be unpolished, style is sometimes lacking.

Not with this one!

Then there’s the final factor which puts a bit of extra pressure on a reader. Loads of fellow bloggers have been raving about this thriller for the past few weeks and it makes me worry, what if I’m the one dissenting voice that just doesn’t “get it”? That’s happened before and I have sadly felt a disappointing sense of bewilderment and something approaching shame that a book “everyone loves” has left me cold.

Not so with Rattle …. I loved this book - please read on …..


My very first thought after picking up this book and starting to read it is “Wow, there’s some writing talent in here”.

I was immediately sucked into the story like milk up a straw and immersed in the flowing liquid storyline so deeply I almost dissolved.

My Second thought was, this author has great similarity to Stephen King, but she’s Female – and British – Oh my.

The clarity and descriptiveness set it high on a pedestal. The way I was introduced to the leading characters quickly, yet without confusion, is fundamental to my enjoyment of this book.

Erdman Frith feels a bit of a failure, his job never amounted to much, he’s a bit pot bellied and can’t always say no to one pint too many, he feels he is constantly letting his wife down and though he adores his only son, little Jakey, has a disfiguring and painful disability, a rare bone condition that is gradually making him grow a bizarre and excruciatingly agonising exoskeleton over his own bones and Erdman finds it hard to accept that he can’t protect his little boy from the pain, discomfort and cruel stares this condition brings. Then there’s Clara, a beautiful little girl with deformed hands earning her the cruel nickname at school of lobster girl.

What kind of sick and twisted serial killer would target disabled kids? The Bone collector that’s who!

The Bone collector is the bogeyman under every childs bed. He is merciless, he is obsessed and he is determined to continue adding to his family’s bizarre mausoleum, a macabre repository of carefully collected and curated human bones. Yet he is an enigma, he has a caring side which we see emerge now and again as he tends his disabled wife.

When little Clara disappears one day, plucked from outside the sweet shop in every Mothers nightmare scenario, families begin to crumble. Into the mix charges renegade cop Etta Fitzroy, having previously failed to find the abductor of a still missing young girl she is determined this time she will avenge. Fighting her own demons and with a very credible reason for becoming way too emotionally engaged, she is the lynch pin around which this story spins.

And spin it certainly does, in a whirl of events and emotions it’s one of the page turniest page turners I’ve read in a long while.

If you’re anything like me you’ll lie in bed ‘til late devouring this book, eventually settling down to sleep with one eye on the window in case you hear the rattle of bones and see the shadow of Jake’s Bogey man “Ol’ Bloody bones”.

Ohhhhh I loved this book, I adored the characters, unlike a lot of books I’ve read lately where the sense of nastiness spreads to all the characters, in this novel almost ALL the loathing is saved for the dark and slimy character who has already been often compared to Hannibal Lecter. 

And though the supporting cast all have their human flaws and foibles, in the main they are redeemed by better qualities, Especially Erdman, who blunders his way through the book and being the most unlikely hero imaginable, and his son Jakey who I really wanted to gently hug (I cried at the brief but poignant memory of his yearning for a dog for Christmas, in fact I’m welling up now)

You know, I’m going to shut up now. (Thank goodness, did I hear you say?)  

I could go on and on about this wonderful, scary and thrilling debut novel and if you’re reading my review I’ve no doubt you’ll find a dozen more all saying similar things – it’s great -it’s amazing – read it! 

So I’ll let you go and pre-order your copy. You’ll have to wait until mid-January to buy a copy for yourself, but I can assure you it’s well worth the anticipation.

Visit the publishers website where you can read an extract.

My thanks to Francesca Pearce at Panmacmillan for allowing me the privilege of early membership of the Rattle fan club with a copy in advance of publication.

The Blurb

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey's father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London's Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it's also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

The Author:

Fiona Cummins

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror show-business journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

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