A couple of weeks before Christmas, I came home to find a note from the postman to say that he’d tried to deliver a parcel. Most of the gifts I’d ordered had already been delivered so I couldn’t think what it was. The only thing I could think of was that Fiona Cummins had very kindly said that she would send me a copy of Rattle. But the postman always manages to get the books through the letterbox, I had thought, it can’t be that. I was so wrong. Coming in at just under 500 pages, Rattle is a whopper of a book! I had set aside Christmas to read it but was now slightly worried that it would run into New Year. (I read like I eat – slowly!) But I needn’t have worried. Rattle gripped me from the beginning. It’s rare that I say a book is unputdownable but it felt like a sacrifice every time I had to stop reading it to cook or be with my family (it was Christmas after all!).
Here’s the opening line to whet your appetite – ‘On still nights, when the curve of a winter moon is smudged in the flow of the River Quaggy, the dead clamour for him.’
The Bone Collector is coming. But he’s not your normal grave snatcher. His tastes are a little more specialized and when he finds them, he has to have them, regardless of whether the person is dead or alive.
When five year old Clara Foyle disappears, it’s up to DS Etta Fitzroy to find her. If she has a fault, it’s that Etta cares too much. Her failure to find another missing girl, Grace Rodriguez, still haunts her and she is determined to not let Clara and her family down. However, Etta has no idea who she’s up against.
Rattle is written with multiple viewpoints but each voice is distinct. Short, punchy chapters kept me turning the pages late at night, desperate to know what was going to happen next. Having spoken to Fiona about Rattle, I know how long this book took to write and all the effort that went into it. Even so, this still doesn’t read like a debut. This is an incredibly accomplished novel and you could easily think it was her fourth or fifth book. It’s astonishing to think that this really is a debut. I’m always a bit dubious about book hype but in this case – believe it. If Val McDermid says it’s ‘A terrific read’, then it must be true.
It’s only the start of 2017 but I can tell you now that Rattle will feature in my top reads at the end of this year, very likely in the top three. Fiona Cummins has set the bar high.
I’d like to thank Fiona for sending me Rattle. She did so without any expectation of a review but it would be a crime to not share it with you.
To pre-order Rattle click here.
Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. RATTLE is her first novel. It will be published in several foreign territories and has been optioned for a TV series.
She lives in Essex with her family.