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

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Watching What I’m Reading

Good morning everyone! It looks like I am going to be reading for a good part of the day today. The weather forecast for a hot sunny day was wrong and, while it’s not raining, it is cool and cloudy with a stiff little breeze  –  not pleasant out on the hillside where I had planned on gardening. A day on the sofa with a pot of tea and my book is far more appealing.

Currently I am reading

Between the Lies

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets – and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able trust are lying to you?

And listening to

The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway, #6)

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.

This week I am planning on reading

The Last Thing She Told Me

Even the deepest buried secrets can find their way to the surface…

Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?

And hopefully I will start

Death Of A Doll

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)

I know that I am not going to get much reading done during the week as we have a fundraiser Saturday for Te Reina Worsley, a young mum of 5 who needs life saving surgery not available in New Zealand. You can read her story here https://givealittle.co.nz/search?q=Te+Reina+Worsley+

I have had 3 approvals from NetGalley this week

Buried Deep (Jessie Cole, #4)

Their Little Secret (Tom Thorne, #16)

Things Unsaid

I hope you have read some wonderful books this week, and you have many more worthwhile reads ahead of you. Happy reading my friends. 💕📚

A Taste of . . .Tuesday – The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries

Happy Publication Day for The Stranger Diaries to Elly Griffiths and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

I can’t wait to read this latest stand alone by one of my very favorite authors, Elly Griffiths. Here is an extract to whet your reading appetite. . .

Clare’s Diary

Monday 23rd October, 2017

Ella is dead. I didn’t believe it when Rick told me. And, as the words began to sink in, I thought: a car crash, an accident, even an overdose of some kind. But when Rick said ‘murdered’, it was as if he was talking a different language.

‘Murdered?’ I repeated the word stupidly.

‘The police said someone broke into her house last night,’ said Rick. ‘They turned up on my doorstep this morning. Daisy thought I was about to be arrested.’

I still couldn’t put the pieces together. Ella. My friend. My colleague. My ally in the English department. Murdered. Rick said that Tony already knew. He was going to write to all the parents tonight.

‘It’ll be in the papers,’ said Rick. ‘Thank God it’s half-term.’

I’d thought the same thing. Thank God it’s half-term, thank God Georgie’s with Simon. But then I felt guilty. Rick must have realized he’d got the tone wrong because he said ‘I’m sorry Clare,’ as if he meant it.

He’s sorry. Jesus.

And then I had to go back to my class and teach them about ghost stories. It wasn’t one of my best teaching sessions. But ‘<i>The Stranger</i> always does its bit, especially as it was dark by the time I finished. Una actually screamed at the end. I set them a writing task for the last hour: ‘write about receiving bad news’. I looked at their bent heads as they scribbled their masterpieces (‘The telegram arrived at half past two. . .’) and thought: If only they knew.

As soon as I got home, I rang Debra. She’d been out with the family and hadn’t heard. She cried, said she didn’t believe it, etc, etc. To think that the three of us had only been together on Friday night. Rick said that Ella was killed some time on Sunday. I remember I’d texted her about the  <i>Strictly</i> results and hadn’t had an answer. Was she already dead by then?

It wasn’t so bad when I was teaching or talking with Debra, but now I’m alone, I feel such a sense of. . . well, dread. . . that I’m almost rigid with fear. I’m sitting here with my diary on the bed and I don’t want to turn the light off. Where is Ella? Have they taken her body away? Have her parents had to identify her? Rick didn’t give me any of these details and, right now, they seem incredibly important.

I just can’t believe that I’ll never see her again.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.
To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”
Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

I hope that I have tempted your reading tastebuds with this morsel from the Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths.

Happy reading, my friends! 💕📚

Watching What I’m Reading

I am currently reading

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom

which I have to admit has enchanted me from the outset.

Meet Eliza Bloom: She likes to live life by the rules: long, blue skirt on Thursdays, dinner with mother on Fridays and if someone tells you a Valentine should be anonymous, give your new husband a blank card. Nothing is out of place in her ordered life…

But last night her teenage daughter found something in a hidden shoebox that no-one was supposed to see and started asking questions. Questions that might just change everything in Eliza’s carefully constructed world.

Join Eliza as she shows you how to run away with the love of your life (quite fast actually, as your family are coming after you), how to make your grandfather happy (this might involve a little bit of lying), how to let someone you love go (actually, this never gets easier) and how (now, this is a bad idea) to keep secrets from your new husband.

The only way to truly live is to learn how to open your heart.

And listening to

The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway, #6)

This is a series that I love, and this is one of the earliest books in the series that I have read .

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.

This week I am planning on reading

Between the Lies

The truth is hiding between the lies.

A page-turning psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until last page, this addictive read will be loved by fans of Shari Lapena’s A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE and Liz Lawler’s DON’T WAKE UP.

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets – and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able trust are lying to you?

The Stranger Diaries

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.
To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.”
Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

I have had 5 ARCs approved from NetGalley this week. . . I know, I know. I wasn’t going to request more than I can read in a week, but I had a bad case of book envy. . . The books I received this week were

The Woman at 46 Heath Street

Death Of A Doll

The Third Mrs. Durst

Run Away

 

Don't Let Go

Have a happy week of reading. 💕📚

Five Star Friday – Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar screaming read me?

Then take a look at Five-star Friday recommendation. It may be old . It may be new. But it is a book that is special to me one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

EXCERPT: ‘You know who I have and you know who I want. Come alone or she dies. You know where I am. ‘

Enough people had died this week because of one person’s vendetta against her. She couldn’t risk one more person getting hurt.

And the person who had sent the text message was right.

She did know where (they) would be.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

MY THOUGHTS: Early on, as I was reading Dead Memories, I had the random thought that reading it was rather like being a rubik’s cube, with Angela Marsons twisting the reader this way and that. Then lo and behold. . . but I can’t tell you, because that would spoil it.

I don’t know how Marsons does it, but by the tenth book, I could understand (not like, but understand) if the series were to go slightly off the boil or become a little formulaic. But no, that definitely doesn’t happen. The pace is on, the suspense high.

In Dead Memories we revisit some previous cases and villains we have met before as the killer recreates traumatic events from Kim’s past. In order to catch the villian, Kim has to examine both her personal past and cases she has worked, because someone hates her enough to want to torture her, then kill her. The list of suspects is not short.

I don’t even try to guess the perpetrators in this series. I am perfectly happy just to go along for the ride.

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Dead Memories by Angela Marsons 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/2682764795

You Belong to Me by Mark Tilbury

You Belong To Me

EXCERPT: The basement seemed to call out to him. Remember the good times we had, Danny-boy? The days when the grass was greener, the sky bluer, and the blood was redder? Why don’t you come on in and sit with me a while? We can reminisce about the good old days. Dig up the past and see what the bones have to say. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Can two wrongs ever make a right?
The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook.
Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her.
Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time?
Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Dark and gritty’ are words that certainly describe Mark Tilbury’s latest book ‘You Belong to Me’. It is set in an atmosphere of almost poverty. A place where desperation and violence go hand in hand, a culture of bullying prevails, alcohol and drugs are a means of survival, and the cycle seems to be stuck endlessly on repeat. If that sounds bleak, then that’s because it is bleak. Don’t go into this read expecting joyous moments or sudden redemption. There may be the occasional promise of sunshine on the horizon, but nothing more.

I have to admit that I struggled a little with this book, purely because of the bleakness. I could feel it sucking at me and to counteract that, read most of it sitting out in the sun of our New Zealand summer days. It was almost too bleak. . . there were too few moments of normality which, on my part, a few more would have been appreciated, and which would have provided a much needed contrast. Or am I just talking about my normality? Perhaps the setting of Mark’s book is normal for some people…

So, dark and gritty it is, and bleak. A story of mental illness in many guises, and the coping strategies that accompany it; of guilt and the damage it does knawing away at the psyche; of manipulation and revenge, of cruelty and bullying.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book, but I kept turning the pages to see where it was taking me.

😨😨😨.5

THE AUTHOR: Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Mark Tilbury and Bloodhound Books for providing a digital ARC of YouBelong to Me 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/2601816836

She Saw What He Did by Linda Renham

She Saw What He Did by Lynda Renham

EXCERPT: The tide was coming in and luckily it had washed up her dolly, for now it lay discarded on the wet sand. She leant down to pick it up and stopped as her eyes feasted on something more interesting. She’d already collected several unusual shells.

‘Come on, Sarah,’ called her mother.

Sarah licked the salt from her lips and watched as the water drifted out to reveal what looked like someone’s toes. But they couldn’t be, could they? How could someone’s toes get in the water? Carefully she picked up the dolly and hugged it to her. She was about to turn back and hurry after her mother when she realised that it was indeed toes, for she could now see the legs above it. The water drifted out some more and Sarah gingerly moved closer. Then she saw it. The body was blue and stiff. For a second Sarah stared at it, puzzled, before realising it had no face. That’s when Sarah screamed, and the rest of the beach went silent. The only sounds were Sarah’s high pitched screams and the wailing of the seagulls.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Abby Miller thought she had the perfect family; a good looking, loving husband and a beautiful daughter. Her life was complete. The shock discovery that her husband, Jared, had been having an affair rocked her world. So when Jared suggested a short break to the Cannard Islands, to heal their fractured marriage, Abby agreed. An idyllic holiday turns into a nightmare when Abby witnesses something terrible. Suddenly her life and the life of her daughter are in serious danger and no one seems able to help them.

MY THOUGHTS: Lynda Renham is certainly a very versatile author. Romance, humor, psychological-thriller, and crime thriller – she has written them all, and written them equally well.

With ‘She Saw What He Did’, Lynda’s latest offering, she has packed in the action – political intrigue, kidnapping, murder – to name but a few.

The story is told from three points of view: Abby who is trying to save her marriage; Ellen, the only police officer to believe Abby witnessed a murder; and Sparrow, the desperate villainwho has bitten off more than he can chew.

While there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot I was disappointed that we discovered the identity of Sparrow well before the end. But don’t worry, the suspense is still strong due mainly to the unpredictability of his character.

And I love the cover! Early on I was wondering what the cover had to do with the plot – it is a pet peeve of mine when the cover doesn’t tie in with the plot – but as you can tell from the excerpt, it is both relevant and beautiful.

😰😰😰.5

THE AUTHOR: Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. She has had several poems published as well as articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Recently she has taken part in radio discussions on the BBC.

She has studied literature and creative writing.

Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Lynda Renham and Raucous Publishing for providing a digital ARC of She Saw What He Did 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/2679694349