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Blacklands by [Bauer, Belinda]
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Blacklands Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Length: 244 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"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...Right from the start you know you are reading something both new and with real guts...will leave you breathless." (Henry Sutton Daily Mirror)

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

"[Bauer's] portrait of the psychopath chills the blood. The reader is fully gripped... Bauer's first novel shows an extraordinary power of imagination and, vital in crime fiction, the ability to create fear and empathy in the reader" (Jane Jakeman Independent)

"In this atmospheric debut, Bauer ably paints a convincingly chilling portrait of a child killer, but it is her moving portrayal of a lonely, bullied child with a comfortless life that singles her out as an accomplished writer" (Carla McKay Daily Mail)

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

Review

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: 1753 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (19 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00351YENU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,671 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Hardcover
"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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Format: Paperback
I was completely gripped by this unsettling novel from the start. It is very atmospheric and deeply disturbing - the author chillingly and realistically conveys the mindset of a serial killer, as well as that of a 12 year old boy. The tension keeps building and building until it is almost unbearable - and then it steps up another gear to leave you racing through the pages to find out what happens. The result is a very quick read but one that stays with you for a long time to come.
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Format: Paperback
I thought this was unbelievably good!!! Brilliantly written, and the characters were strong and very real, with Steven evoking huge empathy from the reader. I really wanted to wrap him in a blanket and feed him stew....
Such a unique story with enough parallels with true life crimes to make it eerily real and genuinely unnerving.
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