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Blacklands [Kindle Edition]

Belinda Bauer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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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 (203 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,595 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
98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blacklands Indeed 25 Jan 2010
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 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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60 of 63 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Apt Title 16 April 2010
By M. Stevens VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I picked this up in a bookshop and registered it on my "books to read" list, only for it to appear through Amazon Vine, so I ordered a copy, and was not disappointed - part of the appeal was the Mo Hayder comment on the inside cover, an author whose books I have read and in the main enjoyed (and whose The Treatment covers a similar subject matter, albeit in the present day rather than crimes past).

I agree with other reviews, it is not an out an out crime novel, more of a an exploration into the long term effects a child abduction and subseqent murder can have on a family. The story is very bleak, in not only the main subject matter, but also you sense a dark location (it seems to be raining continually during the scenes set on Exmoor) and in the way Stephen, the main character lives, both at home, and at school, where he is the victim of his circumstances and continually bullied by a group of "hoodies". After discovering what happened to his uncle, one of the victims of a convicted child murderer, Stephen becomes obsessed with discovering the location of where he [his real uncle - his Mother calls her boyfriends his "uncles"] is buried, which leads to him developing a "relationship" through a series of letters with Arnold Avery, the man convicted. As soon as the killer realises he is exchanging correspondence with a young boy, things take a dark and sinister turn. The way Bauer deals with the killer is excellent, particularly how he does not feel he is "strange", it is the rest of society which is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
This series of books is really great. Love them all.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs K L Hardern
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Brilliant.... couldn't put it down Belinda Bauer is a real find,
Published 2 months ago by JANE fISHER
4.0 out of 5 stars Once or twice I did wonder if a 12 year old would have thought like...
Thoroughly gripped by this book. Very uncomfortable reading but wholly engrossing. Found myself itching to get back to it, eager to find out what was happening next. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding
Gripping story on many levels, I'll definitely get the next Belinda Bauer book, one of the best new writers of this genre
Published 2 months ago by Alison Watson
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspense filled book
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It kept me hooked from the start and I looking forward to reading more from this author.
Published 2 months ago by Sarah 1234
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book, riveting from beginning to end. Have now bought Finders Keepers and Darkside.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy's mother stands every day at the window waiting for him to come...
Steven's Uncle Billy disappeared aged 11, presumed killed and buried on Exmoor by serial killer Arnold Avery. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jo Bennie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A very good read
Published 3 months ago by Judith Pritchard
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read by a talented writer
Having read Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer, I was keen to read more of her work. She's an excellent writer. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tori de Clare
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing and yet oddly uplifting
Dark and disturbing, but also rather uplifting and extremely well written, Blacklands is a psychological thriller and crime novel that feels real. Read more
Published 3 months ago by BookWorm
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