Happy publication day to Fiona Cummins for her brilliant book, The Collector. I’d like to thank Fiona for sending me a copy to read.
If you haven’t read Rattle, Fiona Cummins’ debut novel from last year, then you might want to stop reading this review. The Collector is the sequel to Rattle and so I may, inadvertently, give away spoilers from Rattle. Sometimes you can read a sequel without reading the first book but I would highly recommend that you don’t in this instance. If you’re not able to buy it then pop down to your local library and see if they have it. If not you can always request it. And don’t feel bad about borrowing from the library. Authors get paid a small amount for each book loaned out. So the author still benefits.
Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town.
His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting . . .
Clara, the girl he left behind, dreams of being found.
Her mother is falling apart but she will not give up hope.
The Collector has found an apprentice to take over his family’s legacy.
But he can’t forget the one who got away and the detective who destroyed his dreams.
DS Etta Fitzroy must hunt him down before his obsession destroys them all.
Right, now I’m assuming that if you’re still reading then either you’ve read Rattle or you don’t care about spoilers. Rattle was my second favourite read of 2017, pipped at the post by that cheeky Chris Whitaker with All The Wicked Girls. Rattle introduced us to the very creepy Bone Collector (aka Mr Silver in The Collector). His predilection for deformed bones drove him to seek out live specimens and abduct them. In particular, he preyed on children. It’s a book packed full of tension and drama and it gripped me from beginning to end. So is The Collector as good? Well, I have great news. Not only is it as good as its predecessor, I think it’s even better.
Mr Silver isn’t getting any younger. Just as he was his father’s apprentice, he needs someone to take on his mantle. But without children of his own, he needs to find a suitable person. Another collector, young enough to be impressionable but mature enough to handle the responsibility.
Saul doesn’t have the best home life. Dad left and his mum is an alcoholic. The only thing 16-year-old Saul likes is his collection of dead insects. He and Mr Silver are made for each other.
It’s been a 100 days since Clara Foyle’s abduction. Jakey Frith still thinks of the girl he spoke to through the vent in the wall. Jakey was saved. Clara was not.
DS Etta Fitzroy hasn’t given up hope of finding The Bone Collector. He haunts her as much as Clara.
The action has moved from London to the Essex coast. Fiona Cummins uses her settings like an extra character, particularly the way the weather, or season, or time of day can change a place. The happiness and brightness of a summer beach becomes desolate in winter; a fairground becomes sinister in the dark. Fiona Cummins uses these changes to great effect, adding tension and atmosphere. She could teach a masterclass on this and I, for one, would book a ticket.
Like Rattle, The Bone Collector is written with multiple viewpoints. Some of the same voices are there from book 1 but more are added. To write such diverse characters (16-year-old boy, a police officer, a father, an abducted child to name just a few) takes great skill. I also love the fact that Fiona Cummins gives some of her characters fantastic names that really stand out – Erdman and Jakey Frith, DS Etta Fitzroy, Saul Anguish. But the Bone Collector aka Mr Silver is really Brian Howley – a non-descript name that has allowed him to slip through life fairly anonymously.
There is so much more I could say about this book but I think I’ve given you reason enough to want to read it and I don’t want to give too much away. Just like Rattle didn’t read like a debut, The Collector doesn’t read like a second book. Once more, Fiona Cummins has set the bar very high indeed for Crime fiction this year.
You can find out more about Fiona and buy her books here.
About the author
Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror Showbiz journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy. Fiona sold her house and gave up her job to fulfil her ambition to become an author. A month before her two year deadline, Fiona found herself with a publishing deal with film rights optioned. The Collector is her second novel, following Rattle. Fiona lives in Essex with her family.