Book Of The Month January, 2010
Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery. Only Steven s Nan is not convinced her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it s too late. And if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son, he ll do it. So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer . . .
“Have your say”
This book is an absolutely gripping read! I was hooked from the first chapter, and finished it within a week. The character of Steven is really well written, and demonstrates great understanding and sympathy for the difficulties of a child growing up with such a dreadful tragedy in the family. The portrayal of the murderer is blood chilling, showing insights into the mind of a monster. The author has obviously researched the subject well and there is some very disturbing…
What We Think
A TV Book Club’s choice in January!
“Blacklands heralds a fresh new voice in crime: Belinda Bauer inhabits the mind of her 12-year-old hero, struggling to tease the whereabouts of his uncle’s body from an imprisoned child-killer, with uncanny conviction.”
“Original, unsettling and atmospheric, this is a debut that hits the ground running”
“Thought-provoking and utterly original”
“Exceptional debut … A new UK crime writer to shout about”
Bookseller (Alice O’Keeffe)
“A very special debut thriller, and a clear-eyed depiction of ordinary people under extraordinary stress. This is something quite new”
ANN CLEEVES, CWA Gold Dagger winner 2006