The Collector by Fiona Cummins, Book Review

I collect all sorts, always have. Stamps, minerals, masks, postcards, … nothing valuable, just things that take my fancy. Some of my more acerbic friends say I’m a hoarder rather than a discerning collector. At least I don’t collect skeletons of deformed bones – the latest collecting trend in Fiona Cummins’ dark and chilling thriller. And I certainly don’t go around killing people, either able-bodied or disabled, to enhance my collection. Ebay and the occasional junk shop serve just fine. 

They say the collecting bug runs in families, that we often want to build on a collection we inherit. Well, the psychopath in this thriller inherited a deformed-human -bone family museum - macabre you might think, especially if you are one of the many kind, tolerant people who don't believe in the existence of evil. Or you might think, 'that's sick, wtf?'

The thing is, if you have an interesting collection, you want to pass it on, either to an heir, or a museum perhaps, (although in my case my son says it's all going in a skip!) If neither of these is possible, you might want to groom an apprentice to learn to appreciate your particular hobby and all that goes with it. This is where this engrossing book gets seriously creepy and horrifying.

How long does a serial killer, a collector of bones, keep a kidnapped child alive? When do you give up hope? When do you stop searching?  In this sequel to Rattle, the stunning debut novel of Fiona Cummins, the agreeable and tenacious partnership of police officers Fitzroy and Storm does not give up searching. Would you manage a good night’s sleep if you were the parent of a child with a bone deformity and you knew this killer was itching to get his hands on your child?

Set in the seaside town of Leigh on Sea, a happyish town spoiled by the spectre of a lurking serial killer with a grudge – and an apprentice. Happy endings and sweet dreams are for children and those who don’t know about the real evil that lurks in the heart of men and specially in the heart of one particular man. And what about the heart of his apprentice? 

Get ready for the 22nd of February when this taut and absorbing thriller is published by Macmillan.

 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.