Four weeks today, The Neighbour, the new novel from Fiona Cummins will be published by Pan Macmillan. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you’ll know that I absolutely love Fiona’s writing. So much so, that she’s been runner-up in my top reads for both 2017 and 2018 with Rattle and The Collector. I’d like to thank Fiona for sending me a copy of The Neighbour to read. But before my review, here’s the blurb.
FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .
And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.
The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.
After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.
They say the three most stressful events in life are dealing with a death, divorce and moving house. Well, spare a thought for Garrick and Olivia Lockwood. They’ve just moved house, their marriage is on the rocks and a corpse has been found only metres from their new property. Oh, and it’s the fifth body to be found in such circumstances. Personally, I’d have done a bunk at this point but Garrick and Olivia have to stay.
I’ve read Fiona’s previous books – Rattle and The Collector – so I know what to expect with her style. It’s almost like a list of essential ingredients – quirky names, atmospheric settings and various viewpoints and timelines. All there. But this time we have far more characters who want to tell us their stories. Initially, it was slightly confusing but Fiona Cummins has made them all so distinctive you soon pick up on everyone. Just as you would when you first move to a new neighbourhood – it takes time to get to know your neighbours. But one of them is a killer. The question is who?
I was hoping that ‘Wow, just wow’ would be good enough for a review but clearly it isn’t. Fiona Cummins gets better with each book and the result with The Neighbour is quite astonishing. I keep coming back to it in my head, trying to work out how Fiona wrote this. The last book that made me think this much over story structure was I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh with that epic twist. This is a novel that’s crying out to be made into a TV series with its creepy and complex plot and impressive cast list. But before that happens, read the book. And maybe think twice about moving.
And finally. Sometimes it’s hard to express just how good a book is. I could use lots of superlatives but I’m not sure they would do The Neighbour justice. Except for one. It might be a little early in the year but I’m going to say it. The Neighbour is… extraordinary.
To pre-order The Neighbour 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, her debut novel, has been translated into several languages and received widespread critical acclaim from authors including Val McDermid, Lee Child and Martina Cole. Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: ‘Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.’
Fiona was selected for McDermid’s prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut. Rattle is now being adapted into a six-part TV series by the producers of Golden Globe-nominated Miss Sloane.
A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as ‘A crime novel of the very first order’. Her third novel – standalone thriller The Neighbour – will be published in April 2019.
When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dog. She lives in Essex with her family.