Watching What I’m Reading. . .

It’s almost a month since I last did this post, for which I must apologize. A ‘comedy of errors’ conspired to give me an enforced break, and now we are moving house again so my posts may be a bit sporadic over the coming week or two.

Currently I am reading

Pray for the Girl

Lucy Abbott never pictured herself coming back to Fawn Grove, Maine. Yet after serving time in Afghanistan, then years spent as a sous chef in New York, she’s realized her only hope of moving on from the past involves facing it again. But Fawn Grove, like Lucy herself, has changed.

Lucy’s sister, Wendy, is eager to help her adapt, almost stifling her with concern. At the local diner, Lucy is an exotic curiosity–much like the refugees who’ve arrived in recent years. When a fifteen-year-old Muslim girl is found murdered along the banks of the river, difficult memories of Lucy’s time overseas come flooding back and she feels an automatic connection. At first glance, the tragedy looks like an honor killing. But the more Lucy learns about her old hometown, the less certain that seems.

There is menace and hostility here, clothed in neighborly smiles and a veneer of comfort. And when another teen is found dead in a cornfield, his throat slit, Lucy–who knows something about hiding secrets–must confront a truth more brutal than she could have imagined, in the last place she expected it . . .

and listening to

Valley of the Shadow (Cornish Mystery #3)

A cryptic message spurs Eleanor, Megan, and Nick Gresham on a frantic search for a refugee’s missing family, in The Valley of the Shadow, a Cornish Mystery from Carola Dunn.

While out on a walk, Eleanor Trewynn, her niece Megan, and her neighbor Nick spot a young, half-drowned Indian man floating in the water. Delirious and concussed, he utters a cryptic message about his family being trapped in a cave and his mother dying. The young man, unconscious and unable to help, is whisked away to a hospital while a desperate effort is mounted find the missing family in time.

The local police inspector presumes that they are refugees from East Africa, abandoned by the smugglers who brought them into England, so while the Cornwall countryside is being scoured for the family, Eleanor herself descends into a dangerous den of smugglers in a desperate search to find the man responsible while there is still time.

This week I am planning on reading:

What She Saw

She lied to her daughter to save her family.

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, worked hard to build a successful business to support them and found them the perfect little cottage to call home. Leona and Beth hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears with one another. People say they’re more like best friends than mother and daughter.

It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.

But their closeness means that Beth struggles to make friends. Her mother has kept her sheltered from the world. She’s more reliant on her mother’s love. More vulnerable.

When Beth finds an envelope hidden under the floorboards of their home, the contents make her heart stop. Everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. And she realises there is no one she can turn to for help.

What if you’ve been protected from strangers your whole life, but the one person you can’t trust is the person closest to home? 

Last of the Magpies

The chilling conclusion to the #1 bestseller The Magpies.

Twelve months ago, Jamie Knight walked straight into Lucy Newton’s trap. Both Jamie and his ex-wife Kirsty barely survived. Now, with the police investigation into Lucy’s disappearance going nowhere, Jamie teams up with a true crime podcaster to track down his nemesis.

But can Jamie persuade Kirsty to help? Can Kirsty forgive him for his past mistakes? And who, if anyone, will survive the final showdown? Featuring extracts from Lucy’s secret memoir, Last of the Magpies brings the trilogy to a shocking conclusion.

Books I have been approved for since I last posted are:

Pretty Guilty Women

#taken (Max Wolfe, #6)

Those People

Sleep

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

Till Sudden Death Do Us Part (Ishmael Jones #7)

I don’t have a heavy reading load for May, which is probably a blessing, so maybe I can make inroads into some of my back titles. I am also way behind on writing my reviews because of being without my tablet for three weeks, so I need to catch up on those in between packing, moving and unpacking. It will be lovely to have our own home again rather than renting, and I am going to claim the spare bedroom that opens out onto the deck as my library/ office space.

Have a wonderful week my friends, and happy reading 💕📚

Advertisements

A Certain Justice by P. D. James

A Certain Justice by P.D. James

EXCERPT: Murderers do not usually give their victims notice. This is one death which, however terrible that last second of appalled realization, comes mercifully unburdened with anticipatory terror. When, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 11th September, Venetia Aldridge stood up to cross examine the prosecutions chief witness in the case of Regina vs Ashe she had four weeks, four hours and fifty minutes left of life. After her death the many who had admired her and the few who had liked her, searching for a more personal response than the stock adjectives of shock and outrage, found themselves muttering that it would have pleased Venetia that her last case of murder had been tried at the Bailey, scene of her greatest triumphs, and in her favorite court.

But there was truth in the inanity.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It begins, dramatically enough, with a trial for murder. The distinguished criminal lawyer Venetia Aldridge is defending Garry Ashe on charges of having brutally killed his aunt. For Aldridge the trial is mainly a test of her courtroom skills, one more opportunity to succeed–and she does. But now murder is in the air. The next victim will be Aldridge herself, stabbed to death at her desk in her Chambers in the Middle Temple, a bloodstained wig on her head. Enter Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team, whose struggle to investigate and understand the shocking events cannot halt the spiral into more horrors, more murders…

A Certain Justice is P.D. James at her strongest. In her first foray into the strange closed world of the Law Courts and the London legal community, she has created a fascinating tale of interwoven passion and terror. As each character leaps into unforgettable life, as each scene draws us forward into new complexities of plot, she proves yet again that no other writer can match her skill in combining the excitement of the classic detective story with the richness of a fine novel. In its subtle portrayal of morality and human behavior, A Certain Justice will stand alongside Devices and Desires and A Taste for Death as one of P.D. James’s most important, accomplished and entertaining works.

MY THOUGHTS: This is only my second PD James. I did not enjoy the first at all and was reluctant to read this. But it is faster paced and more intriguing than her book I read previously. She will not become one of my favourite authors. I find her a little predictable, and her writing style too formal for my liking. Even though I say this is faster paced than my previous read by this author, it is still slower than I like.

😐😐😐

THE AUTHOR: P. D. James, byname of Phyllis Dorothy James White, Baroness James of Holland Park, (born August 3, 1920, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England—died November 27, 2014, Oxford), British mystery novelist best known for her fictional detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard.

The daughter of a middle-grade civil servant, James grew up in the university town of Cambridge. Her formal education, however, ended at age 16 because of lack of funds, and she was thereafter self-educated. In 1941 she married Ernest C.B. White, a medical student and future physician, who returned home from wartime service mentally deranged and spent much of the rest of his life in psychiatric hospitals. To support her family (which included two children), she took work in hospital administration and, after her husband’s death in 1964, became a civil servant in the criminal section of the Department of Home Affairs. Her first mystery novel, Cover Her Face (1962), introduced Dalgliesh and was followed by six more mysteries before she retired from government service in 1979 to devote full time to writing.

Dalgliesh, James’s master detective who rises from chief inspector in the first novel to chief superintendent and then to commander, is a serious, introspective person, moralistic yet realistic. The novels in which he appears are peopled by fully rounded characters, who are civilized, genteel, and motivated. The public resonance created by James’s singular characterization and deployment of classic mystery devices led to most of the novels featuring Dalgliesh being filmed for television. James, who earned the sobriquet “Queen of Crime,” penned 14 Dalgliesh novels, with the last, The Private Patient, appearing in 2008.

James also wrote An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972) and The Skull Beneath the Skin (1982), which centre on Cordelia Gray, a young private detective. The first of these novels was the basis for both a television movie and a short-lived series. James expanded beyond the mystery genre in The Children of Men (1992; film 2006), which explores a dystopian world in which the human race has become infertile. Her final work, Death Comes to Pemberley (2011)—a sequel to Pride and Prejudice (1813)—amplifies the class and relationship tensions between Jane Austen’s characters by situating them in the midst of a murder investigation. James’s nonfiction works include The Maul and the Pear Tree (1971), a telling of the Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 written with historian T.A. Critchley, and the insightful Talking About Detective Fiction (2009). Her memoir, Time to Be in Earnest, was published in 2000. She was made OBE in 1983 and was named a life peer in 1991.

DISCLOSURE: I obtained my copy of A Certain Justice by P. D. James, published by Ballantine Books, via Waitomo District Library. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/927662852

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Firstly I must apologize for my absence over the past few days. We had wedding #2 of the three family weddings in 9 weeks. The weather gods were kind to us, the bride was radiant, and everyone had fun. Now a little less than three weeks to wedding #3, for which we will be heading to Australia.

Now onto the real reason we are here. . . Books! Currently I am reading

My Daughter's Secret

for which I gave you a sneak preview last Tuesday. I can’t wait to see where this is going. Only started this last night, and very intrigued.

I am listening to

The Dead Tracks (David Raker, #2)

I have been wanting to get into this series for some time now.

This week I am planning on reading

Two Silver Crosses: A heartwarming family saga of love and war

In 1926 the Holborn twins, Ginny and her blind sister Emily, disappear from their comfortable home in Wolverhampton. Why? No one knew. Ten years later, aspiring solicitor Charlie Commoner is dispatched to France to track them down. What he finds instead is a mystery, a tragedy and a love affair.

But as the Second World War darkens over Europe, so, too, does the legacy from a terrifying disease that holds the family in its grip . . .

Run Away

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs. 

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.

I have to admit to not particularly liking the cover of this one.

This week I have received four ARC approvals from NetGalley.

The Bones She Buried (Detective Josie Quinn #5)

The Last Thing She Remembers

Tomorrow's Bread

Pray for the Girl

I hope you have had a wonderful week’s reading, and that you have another lined up ahead of you. 💕📚

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: ‘And we ask your abundant blessing, Lord, on these, the outcast dead. . . ‘

There is a murmured response from the group gathered on the bank below the castle walls. But Ruth Galloway, standing at the back, says nothing. She is wearing the expression of polite neutrality she assumes whenever God is mentioned. This mask has stood her in good stead over the years and she sees no reason to drop it now. But she approves of the Prayers for the Outcast Dead. This brief ecumenical service is held every year for the unknown dead of Norwich: the bodies thrown into unmarked graves, the paupers, the plague victims, forgotten, unmourned, except by this motley collection of archeologists, historians, and sundry hangers on.

‘Lord, you told us that not a sparrow falls without our Father in Heaven knowing. We know that these people were known to you, and loved by you. . .’

The Vicar has a reedy, hesitant voice that gets lost before it reaches Ruth. Now she can only hear Ted, one of the field archeologists, giving the responses in a booming baritone.

‘We will remember them.’

She doesn’t know if Ted has any religious beliefs. All she knows is that he was brought up in Bolton and may or may not be Irish. If he’s Irish, he’s probably a Catholic, like DCI Harry Nelson who, however hard he denies it, has a residual belief in heaven, hell, and all points in between. Thinking of Nelson makes Ruth uncomfortable. She moves away, further up the hill, and one of the people gathered around the vicar, a tall woman in a red jacket, turns and smiles at her. Janet Meadows, local historian and expert on the unnamed dead. Ruth first encountered Janet over a year ago when examining the bones of a medieval bishop believed to have miraculous powers. It was Cathbad who put Ruth in touch with Janet and, even now, Ruth can’t believe that her Druid friend won’t suddenly appear in the shadow of the castle, purple cloak fluttering, sixth sense on red alert. But Cathbad is miles away and magical powers have their limitations, as she knows only too well.

Words float towards Ruth, borne on the light summer breeze.

‘Remember. . . lost. . . gone before. . . Heavenly Father. . . grace. . . forgiveness.’

So many words, thinks Ruth – as she has thought many times before – to say so little. The dead are dead and no words, however resonant, can bring them back.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of what might be a notorious Victorian child murdress and a baby snatcher known as “The Childminder” threatens modern-day Norfolk in the latest irresistible mystery from Elly Griffiths.

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.
Every year a ceremony is held in Norwich for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program’s alluring history expert, Professor Frank Barker.

DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out-and the stakes couldn’t be any higher when another child goes missing.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved The Outcast Dead, sixth book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. Because I have been reading the series out of order and so have read many of the later books before this one, I already knew the outcome. But instead of diminishing my pleasure, I think it was actually enhanced. I was able to concentrate more on the characters, their relationships, their foibles. I loved the way their beliefs are challenged, and the different ways that they all dealt with this.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the mystery, because I did, immensely. For although I knew the outcome, I didn’t know the who, the how, or the why. And I really had no idea until all was revealed. There is not just one mystery, but several, several centuries apart. So while DCI Harry Nelson is busy working the cases of the dead children, and the abductions, Ruth is involved in solving a centuries old mystery.

Classic Elly Griffiths. And worth every one of the 💖💖💖💖💖 I have awarded it.

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths is the pen name of Domenica de Rosa (born 17 August 1963, in London), a British crime novelist. She has written two series as Griffiths to date, one featuring Ruth Galloway, the other featuring Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto. She has also recently published her first standalone novel, The Stranger Diaries.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths, beautifully narrated by Clare Corbett, and published by Quercus, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1260153601

Watching What I’m Reading

It is late Sunday afternoon here in New Zealand and I have just gotten home after a busy weekend of fundraising for Te Reina Worsley. We had a brilliant day yesterday that continued late into the night, and then today our Euchre section hosted a tournament and the Club in general celebrated St Patrick’s Day. It was an enjoyable and, although I haven’t finished tallying everything up, successful weekend putting Te Reina several thousand dollars closer to the surgery she needs. If you haven’t done so yet, please check out her page at givealittle.co.nz

Of course, everything has been overshadowed by the terrible shootings at the Christchurch mosques. I simply do not understand the hatred. My sympathy and condolences to all those affected by this atrocity. I never thought we would have anything like this happen in New Zealand.

I have just started reading

Only Daughter
Kat experiences every mother’s worst nightmare when her only child’s body is found lifeless in an overgrown, abandoned quarry.

Desperate to find out what happened, Kat questions those closest to her as she tries to piece together the last days of Grace’s life. But as a darker side to her little girl begins to unravel, Kat wonders if she ever really knew Grace.

As Kat is drawn into a twisted game of lies, is she also in terrible danger? And will she be able to unlock her daughter’s final shocking secret?

Even if the truth is unthinkable

and just started listening to

The Dead Tracks (David Raker, #2)

The Dead Tracks” is the second in the David Raker series from Tim Weaver. A serial killer more terrifying than you could ever imagine…Seventeen-year-old Megan Carver was an unlikely runaway. A straight – a student from a happy home, she studied hard and rarely got into trouble. Six months on, she’s never been found. Missing persons investigator David Raker knows what it’s like to grieve. He knows the shadowy world of the lost too. So, when he’s hired by Megan’s parents to find out what happened, he recognizes their pain – but knows that the darkest secrets can be buried deep. And Megan’s secrets could cost him his life. Because as Raker investigates her disappearance, he realizes everything is a lie. People close to her are dead. Others are too terrified to talk. And soon the conspiracy of silence leads Raker towards a forest on the edge of the city. A place with a horrifying history – which was once the hunting ground for a brutal, twisted serial killer. A place known as the Dead Tracks…Hot on the heels of “Chasing the Dead”, “The Dead Tracks” by Tim Weaver revisits David Raker and his complex missing persons cases. Fans of Mo Hayder’s “Gone” and Michael Marshall Smith’s “The Straw Men” should look this way. Praise for Tim Weaver: “Impressive debut…Fans of Mo Hayder will be in seventh hell”. (“Guardian”). “Perfect plotting, great characterisation, and the kind of payoff that a thriller of this calibre deserves”. (Bookgeeks). “A taut thriller”. (Barry Forshaw). Tim Weaver was born in 1977. At eighteen, he left school and started working in magazine journalism, and has since gone on to develop a successful career writing about films, TV, sport, games and technology. He is married with a young daughter, and lives near Bath. “Vanished” is Tim’s third David Raker novel, which follow his highly acclaimed debut “Chasing the Dead” and its sequel, “The Dead Tracks”. Tortured by his wife’s early death, David Raker is one of the most charismatic, sensitive and unique missing persons investigators in current crime fiction.

This week I am planning on reading

In the Blink of an Eye

Originally titled Sixty Seconds

A deeply emotional drama that explores a family’s path to forgiveness and redemption in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The Brennans — parents, Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby — have made a sea change, from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they’re still adjusting to work, school, and life in a sprawling purple clapboard house, when one morning, tragedy strikes.

In the devastating aftermath, the questions fly. What really happened? And who’s to blame? Determined to protect his family, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah — his innocence lost — faces a sudden and frightening adulthood where nothing is certain.

And I hope to start

My Daughter's Secret

My baby girl, I’ll never forget you – your smile, your laugh, the way your hair sparkles in the sun. I cannot comprehend this pain. I cannot breathe through it.

In the middle of the night, Claire wakes up to discover that her beloved daughter, Julia, is dead – and life, as she knows it, is over.

Searching for answers, Claire stumbles upon a pile of letters, hidden under Julia’s bed in an old, battered shoebox, and feels closer to her daughter than ever before. They tell her that Julia was happy, that she was thriving at university, that she was in love.

But as the letters go on, Claire starts to feel uneasy at something hidden between the lines. Even as she grieves, she must prepare to face a shocking discovery. Because Julia was hiding a terrible secret – and when it’s uncovered, it will devastate a family already torn apart by tragedy.

Two very similar covers there !

Three approvals this week from NetGalley

The Family Lie

What She Saw

Black Light

And one publisher’s request

The Return of Mister Campion

I wish you all a wonderful week’s reading. Please, pick up a book, not a gun.

💕📚

 

Death of a Doll by Hilda Lawrence

Death Of A Doll by Hilda Lawrence


EXCERPT: She went back to the night before, to the afternoon that was just over. She retraced every step. I don’t think she knew me at first, she decided. Because of my glasses. I was wearing glasses before. But she knew me this afternoon. Maybe I have a special way of turning my head or using my hands. . . She looked at her hands and saw they were clenched. Maybe I did that this afternoon. Maybe I did that the other time.

She went back to the other time. She saw an office, richly furnished, saw two hatted men with hard eyes, saw another man, hatless, sitting in a leather chair behind an ornate desk. She saw the other girl, her face twisted with fury. She heard the voice again, low and quiet at first, then screaming: ‘I’ll kill you for this. Someday we’ll meet and I’ll kill you with my bare hands.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Hope House, a New York boarding home for women, has led a rather sleepy existence in terms of emergencies. One wastepaper basket fire surely doesn’t count as a five-alarm fire. That is until new tenant Ruth Miller’s limp and lifeless body is found in the courtyard after plummeting to her death.

In a clandestine and hot-chocolate infused meeting, the heads of the house decide Ruth’s death couldn’t possibly have been foul play: no, she must have fallen or jumped. Shy and mousy, it seems Ruth had no friends to question… or ask uncomfortable questions.

But this was no accident: upon Ruth’s arrival, the atmosphere of this happy house shifted, her paranoia was catching, and her last days were filled with dread. If the heads thought a scandal could be averted, they were wrong. It turns out Ruth did have a friend… and she’s out for justice.

This claustrophobic and tense mystery is heralded as Hilda Lawrence’s best. Equal parts cosy and suspenseful, it’s sure to captivate lovers of all genres of classic crime.

Death of a Doll was first published in 1947 and is the third in the Mark East Series:

Mark East
1. Blood Upon the Snow (1944)
2. A Time to Die (1945)
3. Death of A Doll (1947)

MY THOUGHTS: This book is a bit of a mixed bag of tricks. It brought to mind old movies where the private eye wears a fedora and always has a lit cigarette in his mouth, the women are all dames or dolls, and people have a ‘swell’ time. In that sense, it was very enjoyable. I could see and hear most of this playing out just like one of those old movies, and the dialogue is superb, if occasionally a little hard to follow, but only because our speech has changed greatly in the last seventy years. As has the writing style.

There are some delightfully odd characters to enjoy, Bessy and Beulah, for example. Mark East says of them, ‘With his own eyes he had seen them find needles in haystacks and thread them with camels’.
Two ladies of indeterminate age, independently wealthy (I should imagine that ten thousand a year was a great deal back then), and who don’t mind a tipple or two, they provide a great deal of color.

The plot is dated, but perhaps all the more appealing because of that. It would not work in a modern setting where young working women no longer live in heavily chaperoned boarding houses, required to sign in and out if going anywhere other than work. It brought to mind living in the nurses home when I started my training. We were all required to ‘live in’ for our first year. But back to the plot – I got a little lost once or twice and had to retrace my steps to see if I had missed something. But no, it is just the writing style, deliberately obscure at times.

All in all, an enjoyable read, and definitely recommended if you enjoy atmospheric period ‘whodunnits’. But I would also recommend that you read this series from the beginning to get a better knowledge of the main characters.

😊😊😊.5

THE AUTHOR: Hilda Lawrence was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1894. An avid reader of crime fiction, she wrote her first novel, Blood upon the Snow, in 1946. The novel introduced her three main series characters: Manhattan private investigator Mark East and sleuthing New England spinsters Miss Beulah and Miss Bessy. By combining these characters Hilda Lawrence’s novels are a clever mixture of the hardboiled and softboiled styles of detective fiction. Hilda Lawrence wrote only four novels, all in the 1940s. Death of a Doll, which was published in 1947, is considered her masterpiece. She died in Manhattan, New York, in 1976.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Death of a Doll by Hilda Lawrence for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2736313799

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: Upstairs, Jakey stirred as the front door shut on his father’s anger. He was neither asleep nor awake, but somewhere in between. The halfway world of awareness and dreams.

A shadow man with sharp teeth and long skinny arms who looked just like the Bogeyman on the cover of Daddy’s book was leaning over him, but Jakey gave a muffled scream, kicking out with his legs, and he disappeared in the dusty black hole beneath the bed, or inside the toy cupboard. Jakey wasn’t sure.

All Jakey knew for certain was that the man meant to hurt him. Just like that little girl he’d heard them talking about on the television. And that dark things like dark places.

He pulled his Spider-Man duvet up to his nose, and tried to reach out with his sore arm. His fingertips brushed the hard plastic of his torch and knocked it on the floor. The door was open when his daddy said goodnight, but now it was shut. Jakey didn’t like it when the door was shut.

Ol’ Tommy Rawhead’s here. Ol’ Bloody Bones. 

As soon as the name came into his mind, Jakey fought against the rise of panicked tears.

He’s in my bedroom. He’s come to take me away. And there’s no Daddy to scare him off.

He tried to shout for his mother, but something was stopping him, something was crammed in his mouth. He clawed at it with his right hand, but it was only his old stuffed rabbit, Mr Bunnikins.

Jakey squeezed his eyes tight, and counted to three, the way his father taught him to when the pain was too much.

Underneath the silence of the room, he could hear the rattle of Ol’ Tommy’s breath. Could he make it to the door? No, nooo. Those bony fingers would wrap around his ankles as soon as he got out of bed. What about the window? Too high in the sky. If only he could turn on the light. That would scare the Bogeyman away.

His eyelids fluttered, heavier now, the twin ropes of imagination and sleepiness binding Jakey to his bed. Ol’ Bloody Bones has stolen that little girl, and next he’s coming for me. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

MY THOUGHTS: Even though I knew how this book was going to end, the peril of having read the second book in the series first, my eyes sucked the words from the page, and I often found myself not breathing.

Fiona Cummins is a first rate storyteller. She conveys both childish pleasures and fears onto the page in such a way that you can feel them. The same with the pressures the parents face, the unravelling of their relationships, the sniping and back biting, the dark thoughts that creep unbidden into their minds. She conveys the frustration of the investigating officers so that it is palpable in the air around the reader. You can taste it. . . that, and the evil of the perpetrator.

This is an absolutely amazing debut novel, and Cummin’s second book, The Collector, is every bit as good. Highly recommended to lovers of the darker side of life.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed Rattle by Fiona Cummins, published by Macmillan, from Waitomo District Library. A huge thank you to Julie for fast tracking the purchase of Rattle. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1821450319