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The Facts of Life and Death [Hardcover]

Belinda Bauer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
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Book Description

27 Mar 2014

'Call your mother.'

'What do I say?'

'Say goodbye.'

This is how it begins. Lone women terrorised in a game where only one player knows the rules. And when those rules change, the new game is Murder.

Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. Bullies on the school bus, the forest crowding her house into the sea, and the threat of divorce.

Helping her Daddy to catch the killer might be the key to keeping him close.

As long as the killer doesn't catch her first...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; 1st Edition edition (27 Mar 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0593072782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593072783
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description


"Bauer at her best . . . the true heir to the great Ruth Rendell" (Mail on Sunday)

"A new Belinda Bauer always goes straight to the top of my to-be-read pile. She's the most interesting crime writer in England today" (Val McDermid)

"Belinda Bauer's thrillers are always compelling, always original, always brilliant. I will rush to read anything she writes" (Mark Billingham)

"Belinda Bauer is one of the best British crime writers out there right now" (Simon Kernick)

"She writes so beautifully, plots so cleverly and exhibits a razor-sharp understanding of people and places" (Literary Review)

Book Description

The exceptional new crime novel from this award-winning writer


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Chilling. 8 April 2014
Women in a beach community and surrounding areas in Devon are being targeted by a sick individual.

When they have been captured they are stripped.

When they have been stripped they are told to make a phone call.... to their mother.

When they make the phone call... they are told to say goodbye.

When they say goodbye... their mother's watch.

Who suffers the most in this game of murder, the victim or the mother left behind?

Whilst this is happening, a young girl Ruby Trick is struggling with her own battles, she is being bullied on the bus to school, she is being bullied at school. She lives in such a small community that she has only four other children to play with. Ruby cannot play in certain places, not just because of this sick individual who seems to be prowling the area but because part of the cliff face where they live is dying. It is being swept away by the weather and by the sea.

For Ruby there is no solace at home, the house has leaks and drafts which are ignored by her jobless father who seems to spend his time dressing up as a Cowboy to join a local cowboy club and a mother who works every hour she possibly can whilst trying to bring up Ruby in better circumstances and better choices than her husband is showing Ruby. The arguments between the parents seem to be reaching breaking point, similar to the eroding of the landscape around them. Every storm breaks away a little bit more of the marriage. But for Ruby, her dad is the best and he doesn't seem to mind the extra chocolate or biscuits that she eats, as long as Ruby helps feed this Cowboy obsession and Ruby can be his deputy and they can try and catch the killer together.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark character driven psychological thriller 27 Mar 2014
By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
‘Call your mother.’
‘What do I say?’
‘Say goodbye.’

This is how it begins. Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. Bullies on the school bus, the forest crowding her house into the sea, and the threat of divorce.

Helping her Daddy to catch a killer might be the key to keeping him close.

As long as the killer doesn’t catch her first..

So I recently read “Rubbernecker” from Belinda Bauer, also incidentally the first novel of hers I have read since Blacklands and it was so good that I was kind of worried that this one would fall flat. It absolutely did not do any such thing.

We follow along mostly with ten year old Ruby as she explores her world, puts up with bullies, hangs out with her friends and observes her people – she adores Daddy and is determined that he will be happy despite the fact that her parents are not getting on. Meanwhile young women are going missing, as a fledgling killer becomes more confident.

This was an extremely clever psychological thriller, especially as young Ruby’s viewpoint was so very authentic – she behaves like a ten year old with all the curiosity and wonder that time of life brings – and it was a different take on the way an adult would look at the world or peoples actions. Ruby, whilst helping her Dad try and track the killer, ends up with a lot of information that she doesnt realise is important. Offset that against the beautifully drawn police team (and not cliche at all – I thought Calvin was probably one of the most realistic sounding Police Officers I have ever read in fiction and boss Kirsty King was delightfully normal) and you have a cleverly constructed, character driven tale of the darker side of human nature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "When the outside finally broke in..." 13 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Devonshire. Cream teas? Quaint thatched cottages, slumbering hay ricks, jugs of cider? Forget it. Belinda Bauer's Devonshire is as far away from the picture-postcard idyll as you can get. Here, its clouds are "dirty", its streams are "fast, deep and dark", and women are killed after being forced to telephone home and say goodbye to their mothers. Told from the point of view of Ruby Trick, a ten-year-old girl, Bauer's latest, deliciously dark novel is yet another cracker. The undeniably high quality of the writing is what raises this author head and shoulders above her contemporaries in the crime-writing field; indeed, these aren't 'crime' novels, but rather novels which happen to have crimes in them. The finely-drawn characters linger long after the book has been read; what first appear to be throw-away phrases, mere asides, return to haunt you. For instance, a terrified girl flees her killer, "a high, reedy 'Help!' squirting from her every few strides" (oh, that "squirting"!); a discarded copy of the Sun, with "paper tits dissolving to porridge in the rain". A strong thread of dark humour runs through all of Bauer's novels and this reader frequently found himself chuckling with glee. If this is your first Belinda Bauer, then I envy you - you have four other novels in which to wallow. Personally, I can barely wait for the next one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A creepy, damp, unsettling thriller 28 Mar 2014
"In Rock Cottage the living room floor had bulged and finally splintered to reveal a root of oak as thick as a man's leg."

The village of Limeburn in Devon, beset by encroaching tides on one side, and the insidious creep of the forest on the other, in constant danger of being crushed to sand by twin forces of nature, is home to the Trick family. Ten year old, red-haired, lonely Ruby shares her father's impatience with her mother, who always seems to be working or nagging them about sleep and vegetables. Ruby is Daddy's little girl, especially since he joined the Gunslingers, a group of amateur cowboys who hang out in nearby Clovelly to talk spurs and replica weapons in fake American accents. John Trick buys his overweight child's affection with tall tales, macho bragging and Mars Bars.

The story begins quietly, unusually for Bauer, with a rather gentle tale of a small, struggling family in a dank Gothic setting. Ruby, of course, grabs a hold of our hearts and has us rooting for her very quickly but others in the small community are intriguing and engaging too. At this stage the book almost seems to be shaping up to be a 21st century Cranford.

Then - oh my goodness - chapter five! One of the most terrifying scenes I've ever read. It comes from nowhere, it grabs hold of that Ruby-softened heart with a damp, cold hand and squeezes hard. No spoiler, this is included in the cover blurb, but if you're a mother, this really is your WORST possible nightmare.

After that, it's only a matter of time before another of those horrible scenes jumps out at us. We can't relax, and neither can the residents of Limeburn and Clovelly.

To everyone who's lived through the wettest British winter in living memory, this book will seem scarily, remarkably topical.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars which I liked. On the back of reading this
Clever book! A different kind of story for me - and the plot was unpredictable, which I liked. On the back of reading this, I have bought another of her books.
Published 3 hours ago by Mrs. S. M. McALPINE
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent thriller
I have much enjoyed all Belinda Bauer's previous books, and this one certainly does not disappoint.

It is an excellent story, convincingly told through the eyes of the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Simon Evers
4.0 out of 5 stars The ending is especially beautiful.
A completely different kind of thriller. Imbued with knowledge of the poorer parts of South West England Bauer produces a psychological yarn that rings true. Read more
Published 3 days ago by genevive
5.0 out of 5 stars Good writer of murder mysteries
I have only just discovered Belinda Bauer and this is the second book of hers that I have read. She is an excellent story teller and her stories are punchy and too the point. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sue Selby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Couldn't put it down.
Published 28 days ago by Gina Sewell-Carson
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping page turner!
Another gripping story from Belinda Bauer told through the eyes and thoughts of a young girl who loves her daddy and sees him as her hero. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Denise McCormick
3.0 out of 5 stars Every killer has to start somewhere
Every killer has to start somewhere.

Call your mother
What do I say?
Say goodbye

In a small community of Limeburn the headlines of their Gazette... Read more
Published 1 month ago by ireadnovels
5.0 out of 5 stars really enjoyed the quality of the writing
I thought this was a fabulous book, really enjoyed the quality of the writing, the characterisation and particularly loved the way it took a child's perspective of events. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ellenq
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
I really enjoyed this book. I have read all of Belindas other books, but this one I felt is the best.
The view of life from Ruby is very funny. Read more
Published 2 months ago by yer Mum
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit disappointing
I have read all Belinda Bauers previous books and have always found them to be real page turners -and delivering great twists at the end-this was sadly predictable alll the way... Read more
Published 2 months ago by paulbrossendale
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