4 October 2010

Review: BLACKLANDS, Belinda Bauer

WINNER of Gold CWA Dagger 2010
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 493 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (January 22, 2010)
  • I bought this one myself.
In Steven Lamb's house where he lives with his gran, his mother, his little brother, and a succession of "uncles", there is a room that has been a shrine for nineteen years. It is his Uncle Billy's room. Steven is 12 years old and his Uncle Billy disappeared on a trip to the corner shop when he was just a little younger than Steven. 

For three years Steven has been digging on the moor behind his house. The authorities had assumed that Billy had been killed by paedophile Arnold Avery, but Billy's body was never found, while a number of Avery's other victims were. Avery was charged with six counts of murder, but not Billy's. However Steven is convinced that he will be lifting a burden from his gran if he can find Billy's body.

Steven decides to write to Avery, now serving a life sentence in Longmoor prison, to see if he can learn where Billy is buried. When Avery replies to Steven's letter, the game subtly changes.

It is not often that the suspense in a book literally gets to me, but BLACKLANDS almost gave me palpitations at the end. I really can't reveal any more, other than to highly recommend this debut novel.

I had resolved to be very parsimonius in meting out any more perfect scores this year, but BLACKLANDS gave me no choice: my rating: 5.0

Belinda Bauer says in her Author's Note at the end:
    Blacklands was never intended to be a crime novel. I thought it was going to be a very small story about a boy and his grandmother.
Read Chapter 1 from Blacklands

Blurbs and reviews to check
This is book 100 for this year.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this excellent review. You always do such a good job of reminding me of books that I must move up in my TBR pile. This is one of them. Thanks :-).

Anonymous said...

Ooh, this looks excellent. Adding it to my list immediately. Great review!

Anonymous said...

A really interesting article. Thanks for posting.

maggie said...

I'll have to look for this one. Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks!


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