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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a walk on the dark side ...
There is drama in Shipcott, a small village community set in the wilds of Exmoor. It is the middle of winter and an elderly woman, paralysed after a riding accident, has been murdered in her bed. Nobody saw, nobody heard, anything.

Jonas Holly, the young village policeman, is called to the scene. He had been ambitious for more, but when his wife was diagnosed...
Published on 11 Mar. 2011 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Darkside
This is Belinda Bauer’s second novel, following on from the excellent debut, “Blacklands,” and featuring a familiar landscape – plus some characters we have met before. Jonas Holly is the village policeman in Shipcott, deep in the heart of Exmoor. Holly had longed for a more exciting police career, but has returned home after his beloved wife,...
Published 10 months ago by S Riaz


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a walk on the dark side ..., 11 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Darkside (Hardcover)
There is drama in Shipcott, a small village community set in the wilds of Exmoor. It is the middle of winter and an elderly woman, paralysed after a riding accident, has been murdered in her bed. Nobody saw, nobody heard, anything.

Jonas Holly, the young village policeman, is called to the scene. He had been ambitious for more, but when his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis he realised that he had to put his ambitions to one side.

Of course the murder squad is called in, and the local man is pushed to the sidelines. But as there are more killings, as it becomes clear that the killer is targeting the elderly, the ill, the infirm, Jonas is sure that his local knowledge, his insight, could be the key to solving the case.

The plot starts slowly, giving the characters, the location and the themes space to take root, and then it twists and turns and gains pace wonderfully. There's some very clever plotting on show.

And what makes the story sing is the people of Shipcott: their relationships, their shared history, their realisation that somebody they know, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, could be the killer.

The relationship between Jonas and his wife, Lucy , as they both struggle to come to terms with the practical and emotional effects of her deteriorating health, is particularly well drawn. It's real, it's heartbreaking, and it cleverly draws out questions about the killer's motivation, about just who he might be.

I thought I knew, but I couldn't work out how, and then I changed my mind. More than once before the final answer came.

I'm afraid that the conclusion was a bit of a problem for me. The atmosphere, psychology and character that had driven the story so well were pushed to the side to make room for a dramatic set piece. It was gripping, but it just didn't quite ring true, didn't quite fit.

Just the one wrong note in a very interesting psychological thriller. So I'll definitely be picking up that first book, and whatever Belanda Bauer may write next..
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 2nd novel, 28 Dec. 2010
By 
S. Cryer (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Hardcover)
Jonas Holly is a village bobby who gave up a career with the Met to look after his MS-suffering wife, Lucy. As he looks on helplessly at what the condition is doing to her, he finds himself in the same situation professionally, when a series of shocking murders see him pushed aside by the sour Inspector Marvel, who has been brought in to run the case. Not content with dispatching the weak and the helpless, the killer starts taunting Holly with a series of notes challenging him to do his job. As Marvel and his team fail to make progress, the killer starts heading towards Lucy, and a thrilling climax.

Set in the same Exmoor village as her first book, Blacklands, Darkside has more characters, more dark humour, a more impressive plotline, and a genuine oh-my-god ending. The style is still light on the gore, without sacrificing atmosphere and menace. I like to be surprised by humour in a book, and there are a few laugh-out-loud moments, many courtesy of the sarcastic Marvel. This is an out and out crime thriller with some great touches.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Darkside, 26 April 2014
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Kindle Edition)
This is Belinda Bauer’s second novel, following on from the excellent debut, “Blacklands,” and featuring a familiar landscape – plus some characters we have met before. Jonas Holly is the village policeman in Shipcott, deep in the heart of Exmoor. Holly had longed for a more exciting police career, but has returned home after his beloved wife, Lucy, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Now, he spends his time taking home drunks and being involved in neighbourhood disputes, while Lucy sits on the sofa and watches horror movies.

It seems as though sleepy Shipcott is far removed from horror, but then somebody suffocates Margaret Priddy; bed ridden and paralysed. Detective Chief Inspector Marvel is brought in to investigate the crime and he certainly does not want the help of local boy, Jonas Holly. Yet, when Holly is side-lined, he begins to receive anonymous notes, suggesting that he is not doing enough to protect his local community. Ignored by Marvel, suspicious of those he has known all his life, and hating to leave Lucy alone with a killer on the loose, Jonas realises that he is involved – whether Marvel likes it or not.

I like Bauer’s writing and enjoyed her debut very much. In this novel, however, she is let down by some weak plotting and a lack of viable suspects. Normally I am unable to work out ‘who-dunnit’ and never really try to – in this book, it is unfortunately quite clear who the killer is fairly early in the storyline. You hope she will pull out a sudden, surprising plot twist, but it never comes... However, generally the novel is well written, with interesting characters, and a nice atmosphere. I will certainly read on – that second novel is notoriously difficult and I know she can do much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever writing whether you expect all the twists & turns., 11 Mar. 2013
By 
Richard Latham (Burton on Trent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Paperback)
Firstly let me say how much I enjoy Belinda Bauer's writing style, especially the layer of humour just under the surface of, at times, a very bleak and unsettling narrative.
Set in Shipcott within sight of Exmoor this clever story centres on the village bobby - it is a stand-alone novel but with some skill and imagination builds from her earlier novel, the brilliant Blacklands.
It is no 'Heartbeat'; it may miss a beat or two, but in actual fact that vital organ is ripped out of the community in this dark tale, as someone goes on a shocking murdurous spree. The killer is bent on removing 'those waiting to die', a few burdens on their families; culling those whose lives perhaps have ceased to have meaning or a future, other than draining whatever would be left as an inheritance.
Is it a series of murders to mask the true victim?
Or has someone just lost it? A maniac who knows no boundaries and wants the detective team, with the local knowledge Jonas Holly could offer to expose them. Trouble is the DCI drafted in is suspicious of Holly,ignores his contribution and fails to get the best from his team. Meanwhile the killings go on with the Police apparently unable to stop them or settle on a suspect.
Vital clues are compromised, evidence contaminated and psychological contributions missed as leadership and direction are lost.

People have reviewed that they quickly see the murderer and the later part of the book disappoints. I don't quite follow this reasoning myself, and the book delighted me right to the end as the tensions between the characters are wonderfully unravelled and the story builds to a bleak and horrific conclusion.

Indeed I look forward to re-reading it at some future date as already stated, based on the fine writing alone. In the short term I look forward to more from this terrific author with two books already available to tackle which I have no doubt will only cement the reputation of Belinda Bauer and expand her growing fan base still further.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkside by Belinda Bauer, 28 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Darkside (Hardcover)
After enjoying Ms Bauer's first novel, I was looking forward to seeing how she would deliver the "difficult second album" so to speak.

The pace kicks off before your first sip of coffee, and provides no let up until the turn of the last page.

She has created a strong yet diverse bunch of characters, all set in a village so realistic, you may well be able to spot it on Google Earth!!

What a great book. I was hooked from the outset, and the page numbers just kept tumbling as my need to find out what would happen next.

Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venture to the Darkside!, 6 Feb. 2011
By 
Nikki-ann - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Hardcover)
Darkside is a gripping thriller from the writer of Blacklands. In fact, Darkside is set in the same location and a few of Blackland's characters pop up too, including Steven Lamb. I was engrossed from start to finish and there were plenty of twists and turns along the way, including a few shocking ones near the end. The reader has about as much clue who the murderer is as the police in the book do (which isn't much!). One minute you're thinking it's this person and the next you're thinking it's somebody else. By the end of it all you're thinking "Well, I never!".

For those who are squeamish, the murders aren't gory, more emphasis is put on the investigation of the murders than the brutality of them.

Each of the main characters is fully developed and you really feel like you know them as the story goes on. Even the landscape and area is so well described and developed that the reader could probably find their own way around the fictional village.

You don't need to read Blacklands before reading Darkside, but I'd highly recommend reading both books as they are a fantastic read, both together and on their own merit. If you're a fan of murder mysteries, then Darkside is definitely for you.

I'm now eagerly awaiting Belinda Bauer's next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this book, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: Darkside (Paperback)
I have read all her books to date. Usually I dont like British writers but Belinda Bauer avoids most of the classism and triviality that blights British crime for me. The world of the Devon coast and moorlands have a character of their own and that comes out clearly in the book. She writes well, with a tongue in cheek to downright cheekiness that can be laugh out loud while other times it gets creepy. I cant say any more without revealing the plot and I wouldnt ruin that for anyone. But, even if you hate the story, you will find it readable and I would lay a bet you get to the end of this book. BTW the characters do reappear in later books so if you want to know what happens next then get Finders Keepers as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark it certainly is. in a small community. Read it, 29 Sept. 2014
By 
Adrian Brown - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Paperback)
This is an excellent British thriller. Set in a small community where a murder has been committed. The outside city detectives patronise the local bobby which is a wonderfully written piece of us and them continuing throughout the book. The story develops into a chilling series of deaths and incidents where the local bobby is doing his best to be noticed and be useful. He struggles with the dual responsibility of husband to a disabled wife. The arrogant city officer eventually shows some appreciation of the small village mentality even though his main aim is to return to civilisation as soon as possible. Darkside is very descriptive of the book. Unexpected twist. Clever. Well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the story very much but found it a rather ..., 4 Nov. 2014
By 
Sue (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Paperback)
I enjoyed the story very much but found it a rather dark and bleak story in places. The main character Jonas has a young wife who is struggling with MS and the story made me cry at times.

One thing that was wrong with this book was the number of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, aren't books proof read any more? I think I would have given the book 5 stars if it wasn't for the errors.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Side --Belinda Bauer, 1 Jan. 2011
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkside (Hardcover)
Having won the CWA Gold Dagger crime novel of the year award
for her excellent first novel 'Blacklands',the author sets
this chilling follow-up tale in the same village,bordering
on Exmooor.It even has a cameo appearance from young
Steven Lamb,the main character in 'Blacklands'.
'Dark Side' features local PC,Jonas Holly,who also cares
for his wife who is disabled with MS.When he discovers that
a paralysed local pensioner has been smothered to death in
her bed ,the local crime squad under the insecure and unpleasant
DCI Marvel are called in.As it becomes apparent that the murderer
is intent on killing further elderly inhabitants,the tension
increases,with the plot springing constant surprises.
An enjoyable read,full of suspense,but I felt slightly let
down by the ending.
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Darkside by Belinda Bauer (Hardcover - 6 Jan. 2011)
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