With another psychological thriller, Fiona Cummins shakes the reader to the core as they wonder who might be watching them from behind a covered window. In a small Essex town, there have been a handful of murders that cannot be explained. The eerie sense of something wrong is concentrated on The Avenue, a residential area where the homeowners can only wonder who might be behind the crimes. The bodies appear peaceful, with no marks left on them, save the eyes removed and replaced with fakes. The victims seem left like discarded dolls, left in the woods to fend for themselves. Some residents point the fingers to a reclusive doll maker who is rarely seen, though youths do all they can to provoke him, while others wonder if it could be another neighbour, who seems just a little too…different. When the Lockwoods move in, some hope this is a sign of new life. Knowing the history of the area, Olivia and Garrick hope to make a brief impact while they renovate and sell for a profit. Meanwhile, the killer seems to have focussed their attention on the fresh blood, staying one step ahead of all others in a plan to strike at any moment. Someone is out there, watching, and waiting. The further the investigation goes, the more is revealed, though this is not always a good thing. The killer will strike again, though it is impossible to tell when and who could have the motive to complete such heinous attacks. Told from the perspective of many, including the killer, Cummins leaves the reader to guess as they peer through the eyes of many, piecing this story together. A wonderful tale that will send chills down the spines of many and keep the reader wondering if they really know that person who lives up the road. Recommended for those who enjoy a well-balanced thriller with twists throughout.
I discovered Fiona Cummins not too long ago and was hooked by her short series about the hunt for a serial murderer. From there, I promised myself that I would keep an eye out to see if she wrote anything else. When this book crossed my radar, I knew that I would have to get my hands on it, to see if it reached the same level of intensity. It did, and then some, as I sought to see if I could crack the mystery while others in the story hid behind their curtains and speculated over tea. While there are many characters who grace the pages of this piece, the killer appears to be one whose presence cannot be forgotten. Told through a series of memories about events in this small town, the killer recounts of a simple life of children and entertaining, which turned sour at one point and left a pall of death and despair. With a focus on the Lockwood family, new to the area, the killer has a plan with the new blood placed before them, upping the ante and keeping the reader wondering what might be next. With the varied perspectives in this book, the reader will not be short of any character development or flavoured narrative, particularly as they muddle through the various perspectives Cummins offers when it comes to analyzing the crime. The story is well developed as it keeps the reader wondering just who might be involved and how the investigation will play out. With short chapters that alternate between ‘now’—when the killer takes control of the narrative and offers insight—and the summer of 2018, Cummins paints a picture of how this bucolic Essex community turned to one where no one can trust anyone else and all eyes look for clues as to who might be to blame. There is a definitive chill factor here and I know I will keep the blinds down, just in case!
Kudos, Madam Cummins, for another winner. I have come to enjoy your style of writing and hope to see more from you in the coming years!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons