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Rattle by Fiona Cummins

January 25, 2017

A serial killer to chill your bones 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.

This book was full of promise. A seriously creepy psychopathic killer obsessed with his bizarre collection; driven to add to it. By day he lives a normal nine to five existence, but at home he loves nothing better than to tend to his collection.But this is a very particular collection and to make it perfect, he needs very specific victims.

Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy has a pretty sad life. She is haunted by the disappefarance of Grace Rodriguez – a case she desperately wanted to solve but couldn’t. Then, at a low point in her personal life, another young girl disappears from the school gates. Clara Foyle is taken from the school gates and simply vanishes into thin air.
In the meantime Erdman and Lilian Frith’s marriage is under severe strain. Their son, Jakey, has a very rare and extremely painful medical condition which means he has to be very careful because every knock has the potential to create a life threatening problem. They know the day will come when their son can no longer survive and every day is a struggle to balance their protective instincts with the need for Jakey to have the semblance of a normal life.

Soon their worries will be overtaken by a bigger threat…

This is an emotional story, with a lot of thought and excellent plotting going into creating a deadly and sinister atmosphere. The sense of dread builds throughout the book as we slowly become aware of what is being planned and why. The home backgrounds of the characters serve to inform the central narrative of impending doom and the D.S. Etta Fitzroy character is well drawn – flawed but likeable.


Where the story didn’t quite work for me was in the portrayal of the killer. The motivation wasn’t strong enough and of all the characters in the book, I felt this one was less wel l drawn.
A good debut novel which packs a punch, but ultimately doesn’t quite fully deliver on its promise.

Rattle is published by Pan MacMillan on 26 January 2017

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