Reviews

When I Was Ten – Fiona Cummins

She had lived a lie for thirteen years, and the perfect life as she had known it was about to change forever.

Everyone remembered Sara and Shannon Carter, the little blonde haired sisters. Their Dad was the local GP and they lived in the beautiful house on the hill. Their best friend, Brinley Booth, lived next door. They would do anything for each other but everything shifted on that fateful day when Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were stabbed fourteen times with a pair of scissors in what has become the most talked about double murder of the modern age.

The girls were aged ten and twelve at the time. One, nicknamed the Angel of Death, spent eight years in a children’s secure unit accused of the brutal killings. The other lived in foster care out of the limelight and prying questions. Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down one of the sisters, persuading her to speak about the events of that night for the first time.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and Brinley Booth, now a journalist, is tasked with covering the news story which brings to light fresh evidence and triggers a chain of events which will have devastating consequences.

About the Author:

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. Rattle, her debut novel, has been translated into several languages and received widespread critical acclaim from authors including Val McDermid, Lee Child and Martina Cole. Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: ‘Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.’
Fiona was selected for McDermid’s prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut. A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as ‘A crime novel of the very first order’. Rattle and The Collector are now being adapted into a TV series by the Tiger Aspect, the producers of Peaky Blinders.
Her third novel – standalone thriller The Neighbour – was published in April 2019. Ian Rankin described it as ‘creepy as hell’. Her fourth novel When I Was Ten will be published in August 2020.
When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dogs. She lives in Essex with her family.

My Review:

If you’ve already had the pleasure of reading Fiona Cummins’ previous books then you know to expect a dark, twisty and uncomfortable story and When I Was Ten is no exception.

The book opens in 1997 with a young girl fleeing from a double murder scene having witnessed a traumatic and horrific event.  Fast forward to 2018 and the story introduces us to Catherine,  happily married to Edward and loving mother to 12 year old Honor, whose lives are about to be turned upside down and inside out when her Catherine’s sister, Shannon Carter, appears on live TV to talk about the brutal murder of her parents 21 years ago.  Catherine hasn’t told anyone about her past and now watches as her family is dragged into the media spotlight.

Brinley Booth grew up with Catherine and her sister Shannon, living next door and is now a reporter who has been assigned to cover the story and get an “exclusive” however the past still haunts her and she narrates some of the story taking up back to 1997.

There are some really uncomfortable topics covered in this book (child abuse, domestic abuse) and whilst they are an important aspect of why Catherine’s parents were murdered and what drove the sisters to commit these violent acts, there are scenes that are deeply disturbing.

As usual the author provides the reader with a rollercoaster of a ride full of twists and turns.  When I Was Ten is a fast paced, gripping thriller and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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