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Blacklands [Kindle Edition]

Belinda Bauer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Original, unsettling and atmospheric, this is a debut that hits the ground running" (VAL MCDERMID)

"Bleak, thought-provoking and utterly original" (MO HAYDER)

"A new UK crime writer to shout about . . . Exceptional debut . . . this is both a study of a fractured family and a gripping thriller" (Bookseller (Alice O'Keeffe))

"Blacklands is 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)


Thought-provoking and utterly original. --Mo Hayder

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)

Exceptional debut...A new UK crime writer to shout about. --Bookseller

With this extraordinarily powerful and provocative debut, Belinda Bauer has shifted the boundaries of what makes a truly gripping, terrifying thriller. Imagine Thomas Harris crossed with Kate Atkinson and you still won't be close... top-notch, absolutely terrifying suspense... Right from the start you know you are reading something both new and with real guts --Daily Mirror

This astonishingly assured debut...for once lives up to the hype... a psychological tour-de-force about the cruelty of hope and, ultimately, the triumph of innocence --Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 518 KB
  • Print Length: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (26 Jan 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00351YENU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,995 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa. She has worked as a journalist and screenwriter and her script The Locker Room earned her the Carl Foreman/Bafta Award for Young British Screenwriters.

With her first novel, Blacklands, Belinda won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. Her second and third novels, Darkside and Finders Keepers, were highly acclaimed, and she was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award 2012 for her entire body of work. Rubbernecker is Belinda's latest novel.

Belinda is a repeat guest on Front Row and regularly appears at Harrogate Crime Festival. She lives in Wales.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blacklands Indeed 25 Jan 2010
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 500 REVIEWER
Blacklands is a rather dark tale of two halves, one part of it is the tale of an unhappy and dysfunctional family, and the other is the dark tale of the mind of a serial killer. The thing, or person, that links the two is a twelve year old boy called Steven Lamb. Steven is one of those boys who isn't very popular at school in fact even his teachers try not to notice him and even try to avoid him and his `smell of mildew', so much so they ignore his being bullied. His home life is also not the best, living on the breadline, Steven with his Mum, Nan and little brother Davey.

It's not the happiest of households either, his mum has a favourite son which isn't Steven and his Nan has been bitter and angry ever since the disappearance of Steven's Uncle Billy. Aged eleven Billy vanished between the newsagent and his house believed to be the victim of serial killer Arnold Avery. Steven decides and in some way becomes slightly obsessed that finding Billy's body will make everything better and if he does it his family will love him more. After fruitless digging on Exmoor he decides that he will write to his Uncle's killer, what he doesn't realise is that this provides Arnold Avery with the perfect game.

Steven is a brilliant character and I really enjoyed reading him and following his journey. Occasionally I thought he spoke and acted a lot older than twelve, having said that with his home life the way it was and all the bullying I could understand why he might have aged quicker. I thought the premise was an interesting and yet incredibly disturbing one. I found getting into the mind of Avery and his paedophilic ways made for difficult reading, I am of a mind though reading shouldn't always be comfortable just like it shouldn't always be happy.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blacklands - a new style 21 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although Blacklands fits comfortably into the crime genre, this book is actually part thriller, part crime drama and part coming-of-age story. It's a study of ordinary people under extraordinary pressure; Steven and his family still suffering from a distant crime, and a killer playing a cunning long game for another chance at psychopathic glory.

While much of current crime fiction seems to use more gore and more sadism to attract attention, Blacklands heads in its own direction. In fact Bauer goes out of her way to avoid being graphic, while making it clear that Avery is a monster. This light touch sets it apart from much of what's on the market today.

Characterisations more than do justice to the plot, and we're taken inside the heads of a twelve-year old and a serial killer with equal conviction, thinking, seeing and feeling what they do .

This is a gripping and believable read, created with spare and beautiful prose. Highly recommended.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Debut Novel in Psychological Suspense 25 Dec 2009
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"Blacklands" is a British mystery and an exercise in psychological suspense. It is a debut novel from Belinda Bauer, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. She won the Carl Foreman/BAFTA Award for Young British Screenwriters and was a runner-up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition for her short story "Mysterious Ways." Bauer was raised in England and Africa, and now lives in Wales.

The novel concerns 12-year old Steven Lamb, a small, but seemingly ordinary boy. However, he is anything but ordinary. Eighteen years ago, his eleven-year old uncle Billy Peters disappeared. Most residents of his village, Shipcott, assume he has been murdered, and buried on Exmoor, the seaside moor that surrounds them. After all, only two years later Arnold Avery confessed to killing six other children and burying them on the surrounding moors. But Steven's grandmother doesn't believe her favorite child is dead, and she spends her days standing lonely guard at the front window of their home, waiting and watching for the boy's return. In fact, the entire family, Steven's Mum, and his younger brother Davey, are still suffering the aftereffects of Billy's mysterious disappearance. So Steven spends every spare minute digging up the moor, looking for Billy's body. Until, that is, he gets the bright idea of writing Avery in prison, seeking further information. A dangerous cat and mouse game ensues; and Steven is just a young boy.

Debut novel or not, this is a well-done mystery. The plot is tight and suspenseful; writing is good, whether narrative, descriptive, or dialog. Bauer has created excellent, vivid characters in Steven, his family, friends, and enemies, and the murderous Avery. She also has done an excellent job of giving us the atmosphere of a small, isolated village; and the moors that surround this particular one: her descriptions of the flora and fauna are fine. I look forward to her next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very worthwhile read! 10 Oct 2010
I was given this book as a gift some time ago, and was not disappointed!

The book is about Steven, a 12 year old boy who is forced to communicate with a serial killer in order to find his uncle's missing body. The way all of the characters (including the serial killer) interact with each other, and the level of description used to form an image of them in our minds is so astounding that you are interested to discover what will happen to them, and at the same time is not so detailed that the pace of the story slows down.

It is a very entertaining read (I couldn't put it down!), and the amount of research invested into creating the story and its backdrop can be clearly seen. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants something different from all the other cliched crime novels currently on the market, and also anyone who wants a fantastic read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Had to buy this after all the hype.
The premise is brilliant and I really enjoyed it. Shared with some of the girls to mixed reviews, you probably have to be a crime fiction... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Ger Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of scary speed
Loved it had me jumping out of my skin and I've read hundreds of crime books takes a lot for me to jump was pulled into the story immediately then couldn't put it down fantastic
Published 1 month ago by M walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligently written and totally absorbing.
Brilliantly observed story from a young boy's point of view about searching for the body of his murdered 'boy' uncle because he thinks that when he finds the body it will heal the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tracy Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read.
I couldn't put this down, another great book from the wonderful Belinda Bauer, would recommend to all my family and friends.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Linda Ingram
5.0 out of 5 stars Blacklands
I have been looking forward to reading this book as it teasingly sat on my bedside table begging me to pick it up whilst I finished reading the Lee Child, Jack Reacher book that i... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dave Stanhope
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant crime writing
My first Belinda Bauer novel, and I loved it! I read a lot of crime, and this has real stand out for me. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Grace
4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut
I enjoyed this book which was a debut novel for Belinda Bauer.

The story is about Steven Lamb, an unhappy 12-year-old boy who lives with his mother, grandmother, and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Macca
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hi," he said, "Do you have any postcards of Exmoor?"
I hate books that start out emphasizing the wretched home-life of children with horrible and selfish parents, who have forgotten what it is like to be powerless and at the mercy of... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Fast moving gripping read. One of the baddest baddies ever . But he seems so real. I will read more from Belinda Bauer!
Published 6 months ago by stuart collingwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly good
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I love a good ending. I found the story and characters realistic and hope something like this never happens.
Published 7 months ago by Jeanette
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Popular Highlights

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Contents Copyright Dedication &quote;
Highlighted by 8 Kindle users
She had started life as Gloria Manners. Then she became Ron Peter’s wife. After that, she was Lettie’s mum, then Lettie and Billy’s mum. Then for a long time she was Poor Mrs Peters. Now she was Steven’s nan. &quote;
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users
Note Acknowledgements &quote;
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