I absolutely love Fiona Cummins’ previous novels, her debut Rattle is still one of my favourite books of 2016 and I have devoured her follow ups, so when her latest appeared on Netgalley I was rather excited.
When I Was Ten follows the Carter family. Twenty years previously Dr Carter and his wife were killed by their daughter in a case that gripped the nation. Ten year old Sara Carter was nicknamed the Angel of Death, but having served her time she now has a family and a life of her own. However when her older sister does her first ever TV interview, Sara’s life comes crashing down around her. The sisters childhood friend Brinley is now a journalist tasked with covering the breaking story, forcing the three women to confront the reality of that terrible night.
This was another superb novel from Fiona Cummins that was utterly compelling. The story is told from two viewpoints, the sister and the journalist and cleverly entwines the two in a way that keeps you wanting to know just a little bit more. As with all Fiona Cummins books you get a great insight into not only how messed up family dynamics can be but also how far people will go when they want to protect their secrets.
The writing is as always engaging and completely sucks you in. I thought the story itself was very clever. There were some very upsetting elements as you find out about the family itself and what happened in the lead up to the murder. It is a very emotional story based around family life. I did find the inclusion of the MP storyline a little unnecessary, as I didn’t really feel that his storyline added to the book much, however the reasons behind him being included became clearer as we hit the end. I liked the way the story was structured, it was very much an act in three parts as the story switches between the before and the after for the Carter sisters with little let up inbetween.
One of the things I really like about all of Fiona Cummins’ novels is the unexpected twists and turns that run throughout, whenever you think you have a handle on where it is going something else will happen that completely throws the theory out of the water. This was no exception.
When I Was Ten was yet another fantastic story from one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read what comes next from Fiona Cummins.
Order your copy here When I Was Ten
Today is World Book Day, and I suspect there are scores of children everywhere dressed as Harry Potter, for once slightly gutted that school is shut due to snow.
Every day is book day in my world, just without the fancy dress. So today a cancelled train to Edinburgh gives me the perfect opportunity to read. However my latest read certainly isn’t one for children. It was The Collector, the second novel by author Fiona Cummins. Her debut novel Rattle was one of my favourite books of a couple of years ago, so I was very excited to get a copy of her follow up in my Festival goody bag last year and the Collector certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Collector starts shortly after the first book finished. There is a girl missing, and Brian Howley, the Bone Collector is on the run. In Rattle, Howley’s collection was destroyed and now he is trying to rebuild it. Detective Etta Fitzroy is back on his trail and is determined to prove she is up to the job of catching him again. Jakey is also back and having escaped from The Bone Collector once he is determined that no one else will suffer. This time we also meet Saul, with an alcoholic mother he meets Mr Silver and is soon under his spell.
This was another gripping read. The Collector grabs you from the start and continues at break neck speed until it reaches it’s disturbing conclusion. The Collector is terrifying and I think one of the reasons it is so creepy is that everyone can identify with collecting things. I was always collecting something when I was younger, even now I have a collection of fridge magnets. So collecting is something that you can understand, although hopefully no one reading this is collecting body parts!
The writing is superb in this novel, and the characters are that great mix of both good and bad that keeps them realistic. The viewpoints change throughout giving us an insight into not only Etta but also Howley and Saul which makes it a real page turner.
The Collector is an excellent novel. It is definitely best to read Rattle first but I would thoroughly recommend making your acquaintance with the Bone Collector and what more excuse do you need too treat yourself than in celebration of World Book Day.
I received a copy of Rattle by Fiona Cummins in the goody bag at the festival back in July. It wasn’t one that I heard of before although my sister had seen in advertised. Needless to say the cover picture of the rib cage and the line on the back stating ‘a psychopath more scary than Hannibal Lecter’ meant this seemed right up my street, and it most certainly was.
Rattle introduces us to Detective Etta Fitzroy. She is investigating the case of Clara who has gone missing. This isn’t her first missing child case, and sadly for young Jakey it won’t be her last. Both missing children suffer from unusual bone conditions. It is this that singles them out for the ‘Bone Collector’ who is looking to add to his families heirlooms.
I can honestly say I thought this was one of the best books I have read in ages and I couldn’t stop reading. The premise of a man who abducts children being followed by a troubled detective with family issues isn’t that original. Yet the twists and turns within this story really did make it feel ‘new’. The main character of Etta was ok, and despite her issues, to me she felt like a detective that actually put the job first. This can often be lacking in female leads and was refreshing. However what I really liked was the insights we got into the characters involved. Many of the chapters are told from the point of view of the familes, so you really feel like you know them and care about them, they are not just faceless victims.
Some of the scenes within Rattle are truly chilling. I really enjoyed the style of writing, and the descriptions within the novel. The visions they conjure up in part of the book will stay with you after it’s finished. I love a good serial killer story, especially one that has you double checking all the doors are locked before you carry on reading. The Rattle certainly did that. It was the perfect balance of scary thriller, and excellent character led story.
This was one of the best books I have read all year, and an incredibly accomplished debut. An excellent addition to this year’s goody bag and I hope there is lots more to come from Fiona Cummins.