“Like the living, the dead can be bought.”
There are not many novels that I can say genuinely scared me, IT by Stephen King was one, The Secrets of Crickley Hall by James Herbert is another. And now, Rattle by Fiona Cummins can join that brief, unusual list.
In this novel we are joined by a psychopath called The Bone Collector. This particular villain was somebody who had joined the family business in collecting new specimens for the family museum, kept at his father’s house. And of course, what he wanted most of all as curator, was the skeletons of deformed children.
Side Note: If the phrase ‘skeletons of deformed children’ doesn’t freak you out, then I’m afraid you have out-toughed me and may not find the rest of my review useful.
I really want to keep my explanation of this book plot short because I definitely feel that the less you know, the more hooked you will be once you pick up this book. So forgive me for not going into too much detail of the ins-and-outs of the storyline.
For one, I cannot believe that this was Fiona Cummins first novel, it was so well written with absolutely immense detail. I particularly enjoyed the multiple references to John Hunter, a Scottish surgeon well known for his medical discoveries and thorough examinations of the skeletal form in humans and animals. It made the entire experience just that little bit more real for me.
I found that every character in the novel was described supremely realistically, with everyday life troubles on top of their horrific ordeals. I found Jakey extremely endearing, he understood he was different, yet didn’t let it hamper his enthusiasm of life, something that I find quite enviable. I explored the novel for his fate with bated breath; I was not disappointed.
One aspect of this novel that completely disturbed me, was its use of carrion beetles and the avid description the author uses of them and their… feedings *shivers inwardly*. Insects are literally my kryptonite and the way they are portrayed in this novel is sure to send any entomophobe into a nightmare riddled sleep. Luckily, I have my furry little Shih Tzu side kick to alert me of any crawlies, although he is sure to run away from them faster than I do.
Another thing I feel I must comment on; I genuinely got chills when I read the narrative from The Bone Collector’s perspective. I love living in a mind that makes no sense to me. And I very rarely find that thrillers are unpredictable, like this one was. Especially from such a bogeyman as The Bone Collector – my mum literally warned me about guys like him. To see the world from his eyes was horrifying yet strangely elating at the same time.
I fully recommend this book to be read in the dim light of a lamp, perhaps attach yourself to a catheter so you can read right through with no toilet breaks – also useful for the wet-yourself-with-tense-fear factor. I genuinely thought I was tough before I picked up this novel.
A sincere, well done, to Fiona Cummins, who clearly has extraordinary talents and should be one to look out for in the future world of thriller fiction. I sincerely cannot wait to go and sink my own claws into the next book of The Bone Collector series.