Monday, 26 February 2018

Review on The Collector

The Bone Collector is back, and this time he has an apprentice.

It has been 100 days since Bryan Howley kidnapped five year old Clara Foyle, and still there has been no sighting of either of them. Detective Sergeant Fitzroy is determined to put Howley behind bars once and for all. The only problem is she has no idea where he is. Jakey Frith may have escaped, but The Bone Collector isn't giving up so easily. He has an apprentice, a sixteen year old boy named Saul who lives with his alcoholic mother. Saul is determined to stop having to take care of his mother and start living, and The Collector, who is now going by the name Mr Silver just might be able to give him that opportunity. With time running out for Clara, the bone collector must be caught before more innocent lives are lost.

I loved reading Rattle last year, so of course I was quick to request an advanced copy of the sequel! The book starts 100 days after the abduction of Clara Foyle, a five year old girl with cleft hands. Her kidnapper, Bryan Howley has become known as the bone collector due to his obsession with collecting the bones of people with bone deformities, and Clara's hands are what he wants to add to his collection next. However, he has his eyes on another target, six year old Jakey, who suffers from fibrodysplasia, or stone man syndrome, a rare disease that causes muscles to turn to bone. Jakey managed to escape the bone collector once, and he is determined to get him back. I thought this was a fantastic sequel to Rattle, and I was completely hooked from start to finish. I did wonder how Fiona could possibly make the story any creepier, but somehow she managed it.

Along with the characters from Rattle, there were also some new characters, including Saul, a sixteen year old boy who the bone collector grooms into being his apprentice. I found the relationship between them to be really creepy. As the bone collector has no children, he decides that Saul will be his apprentice and continue his legacy. Howley, now going by the name Mr Silver to protect his identity gains Saul's trust by helping his mother, and providing him with a place to stay. He eventually starts referring to Saul as his son, something that he seems to end up believing as true. As he barely knew Saul and refused to let him leave, I found this one sided father/son relationship to be extremely uncomfortable and creepy. I loved that this was the first real step that was taken into revealing Howley's past, and the relationship he had had with his own family.

Something that I loved was that we finally got told about Howley's past. We're told in Rattle that it was his father who had started to collect bones, but we don't really get an insight to why his son continued his work. However that all changes in this book, as we are shown a series of flashbacks to Howley witnessing a murder committed by his father. I felt that this was important to bring up, as it gave an explanation as to why he collected bones. I always feel that a back story makes a villain seem more genuine, as there is nothing worse than a villain being evil for the sake of being evil. There is nothing more terrifying than a villain who thinks that what they are doing is for the greater good, and I think that's what made Howley such a fantastic villain. I loved the parallel between what Howley's father had made him witness, and how he was now doing the same thing to Saul. It showed just how desperate Howley was to continue his fathers work.

Saul was an interesting character, as even before he met “Mr Silver,” it was clear that he was a little odd. I love how we eventually learn that Saul also has a dark past involving his family, and he has some similarities with the bone collector. One thing that I loved was how it was never certain which way Saul would go. He didn't fit neatly into either the villain or hero categories, and one minute I would think he was going to betray Howley, and the next it seemed more like he was gaining the trust of Jakey and his father for Howley's benefit. It was impossible to ever fully trust Saul, and this was a brilliant way to keep the reader in suspense, as his actions were completely unreadable.

I loved that Clara and Jakey had more of a presence in this book, and how although they are young children, they were both far braver than the adults. Jakey using himself as bait was both clever and heartbreaking, as no six year old should have to come to terms with the fact they were going to die a young age. I also felt really sorry for Clara, as she had to grow up fast in order to survive. It was both terrifying and sad how she no longer feared the dark or strange sounds, as she had witnessed something far more horrifying.

As you can probably tell from my blog, crime fiction is not usually my cup of tea, but I'm so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to read these books! Bryan Howley is one of the most terrifying villains I've ever come across, and the fact that what he does isn't too dissimilar to what some real life serial killers have done makes it all the more realistic and terrifying. Fiona Cummins is a talented author who will leave you on the edge of your seat reading into the early hours of the morning. Even if, like me, you're not usually a crime fiction fan, I still recommend this series!

The Collector is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

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