This review is written with thanks to McMillan and Netgalley for my copy of Rattle.
When Clara Foyle and Jakey Frith are abducted, it falls to Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy to find the perpetrator. Etta finds that someone has left a rabbit skeleton for her, and this leads her to believe that these cases are connected to the case of Grace Rodriguez, a child who went missing a year ago. It is clear that the perpetrator is very dangerous, but can Etta find them before it is too late?
It is clear from the outset of Rattle that the criminal to whom the reader is introduced is a very chilling individual. The blurb compares him with Hannibal Lecter, and I dismissed this as exaggeration. I know now that I was wrong to do so! There are several chapters that are written from the perpetrator's perspective and this gives the reader a glimpse into his mindset, showing us how twisted he really is. As such, I was fearful of what he would do to his victims. I actually had nightmares whilst reading this novel, but despite this, I was reluctant to put it down so I could discover what happened.
One of the victims, Jakey Frith, has Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, more commonly known as Stone Man Syndrome, and this becomes intrinsic to the plot of Rattle. This is a medical condition of which I had no knowledge prior to reading this novel, and I found it fascinating to read about it. Cummins has researched the condition very thoroughly, and her descriptions of Jakey's symptoms are so detailed that I could clearly imagine Jakey's pain. This increased my sympathy for him and kept me engaged in the investigation into his disappearance.
The ending of Rattle is not typical of the crime novels I have read recently, in that Cummins has left it rather open ended. In some ways, I was disappointed by this; however, I recognise that the questions it raises mean that this novel will stay with me long after I publish this review. It is truly chilling.
Rattle is published on 26th January and is available from Amazon.