Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
106
4.2 out of 5 stars


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Finders Keepers is the third book in a loose trilogy set in the village of Shipcott, Exmoor. It features Steven Lamb, who was the main character in Blacklands, and Jonas Holly, who was the policeman and main character in Darkside. Whilst Finders Keepers can be read as a standalone novel I wouldn't recommend it. I read it straight after Darkside and there are things that are referred to in it that directly relate to what was in Darkside.

In this book, children are being taken from cars and a note left behind saying "you don't love him/her". Jonas and the wider police force have to search for the kidnapper.

Belinda Bauer is becoming a real favourite of mine. I've found all of her books to be absolute page turners. They are quite dark in nature and cleverly plotted with a great cast of characters. I find myself riveted by the storylines and their many twists and turns. Although the big reveal comes half way through this story, I would never have guessed whodunnit and I think that is a measure of good writing. Can't wait for her next book!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 24 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read Bauer's first book and thought it was OK. Quite promising in fact although a little artificial. I didn't read the second but saw that it had lots of rave reviews of Amazon so assumed that she had improved. And now this one.

I almost don't know what to say about it. Like a previous reviewer has said, its not that there aren't good bits, a few pages at a time where any reader can get caught up with thinking that this is a well written crime novel. The problem is that the author, on a regular basis, gives her characters preposterous things to do and say and what makes it worse is that now we are on book 3 of a series of crimes all taking place in a small area of Exmoor, there is also the slightly farcical sense that absolutely everybody in these books is either a criminal, a victim or just about to become one.

But it is the constant absurd behaviour of the characters that jars. A small example. We have a serious kidnapping case investigated by a none too bright male detective and his side-kick female. They are getting nowhere. They have no clues as too the perpetrator. Up pops the local bobby who spots the reason why cars in the vicinity of the kidnappings have had theirs windows smashed. What do the lead detectives do ? They pour scorn on what is obviously a worthwhile theory and shoo the PC away. Its nonsense. The police just aren't that stupid. And this is just one of dozens and dozens of examples of behaviour that under the circumstance is just inexplicable. People don't behave this way.

To me this feels like the first draft of a novel that the author has ripped through in a few weeks and then without any input from an editor or any further re-writes has simply been published. Perhaps that's how thing get done these days. Which is a pity because somewhere in here is a writer who could do a lot better.
11 Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Belinda Bauer's third novel once again focuses on the residents of the fictitious hamlet of Shipcott near Exmoor National Park, Devon. The story involves the mysterious kidnapping of a number of children, and on the one side we have the rather under-played police procedural element fronted by self-conscious Detective Inspector Reynolds and the more sensitive Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Rice, and on the other side we have the Lamb family, mainly brothers Steven and Davey. In the middle there's the emotionally damaged and vaguely enigmatic Jonas Holly, a police officer recovering from the loss of his wife, and who probably shares the part of this novel's lead character with Steven Lamb who himself discovers love for the first time in his young life. The essence of the tale is that children have been taken from cars and the reader has to wonder who is responsible and what their motives are.

I liked Bauer's first novel Blacklands very much but this isn't quite as good, mainly because the various turmoils within the lives of Jonas and Steven don't integrate quite so well into the central criminal story; as a result, for long stretches within this tale, the kidnapping of the children seems curiously less urgent than it surely would or should be, and this is compounded by the narration of a police investigation that is woefully lacking in intensity or passion. In fact the eventual breakthrough and critical turning point is oddly understated and almost casual. The character development is pretty good, well above average it has to be said, and to be fair the story as a whole is far from mainstream or stereotypical - Bauer definitely has a certain style and identity to her writing. It's inconsistent however, with fluctuating levels of suspense and tension. There's a kind of void in the middle of the tale - padding, I'm tempted to suggest - with seemingly endless quickie-chapters that bounce around from sub-plot to sub-plot with only occasional true reader engagement.

It's still a good story though compared to several others I've read this year, and it's only disappointing when compared to Blacklands which really did hit the mark. I should add that there are many references within this tale to past events that may have been a part of the second of Bauer's novels Darkside - which I have not yet read - and if anything the author reveals so much here as to offer spoilers to the previous books, which would be a pity. If you're thinking of buying Finders Keepers, by all means go ahead but I would urge you to read the two 'prequels' first.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this an easy-to-read and quite enjoyable thriller, although it does have some pretty serious flaws. Belinda Bauer writes well on the whole: she structures and paces her story well, creates some believable characters and managed to grip me in spite of my reservations. I thought the central two police officers were well-drawn and the story of teenage first love was believable and very touching. I agree with some other reviewers here that there are some horribly forced similes and the odd out-of-place word or phrase, but there were few enough not to spoil it for me and in general I found Bauer's prose enjoyable to read.

I have to say that I found the kidnapper's motivation simply absurd. I can't say more without giving away too much, but as a reason for committing multiple major crimes it's just silly. Bauer also creates an unconvincing unscrupulous journalist for the sole purpose of having a go at the press and eventually being able to humiliate her in revenge, which was an unnecessary and annoying distraction. I found the mental state of Jonas Holly (the village policeman) pretty implausible, too, and then there's the absurdity of the appearance of yet *another* probable mass murderer in a tiny Exmoor village. Midsomer's per capita crime rate looks realistic by comparison.

However, I found that I did enjoy the book and became quite gripped by it - largely, I think, because Bauer created characters I cared about and I wanted to find out what happened to them. It has little of the originality and depth of Blacklands, but if you are prepared to suspend disbelief from a pretty great height I can recommend it as a readable, largely brain-off thriller.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 23 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A gripping read with a highly original plot, this took me quite close to the end of the book before any real clues were revealed. This is sadly unusual in many recent thrillers! The denouement is somewhat grisly but satisfying - it makes a twisted kind of sense. There are a few incongruities and one thread of the story - around the village policeman - is not resolved to my satisfaction. But if you want a generally uncomplicated and suspenseful read, this I can recommend.
11 Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 May 2013
I'm fortunate in that I happened to read 'Blacklands' and 'The Dark Side' in that order first before reading this. I think it would be tricky to understand the back stories involved unless you had. However, this is a compelling story which I found hard to put down. I wonder whether there will be any more stories from Exmoor from Belinda Bauer?
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 March 2015
What is there to say, another brilliant book by Belinda Bauer, the perfect balance of tension,caring but tight description and a plot that keeps you turning the pages until the wee small hours. Having read the others in this series, it was great to go back to the dark moors and the village of Shipcott. All the characters, half known from previous books become more developed, though it is written so well, that I am sure it could be read as a stand alone novel. Haunted Jonas, a self obsessed Reynolds and Steven, now grown up and falling in love as an adolescent and that was told so well with all its awkwardness. It brought in a balance, a side bar, and was told very beautifully, showing that life wasn't just creepy and terrible in Shipcott. Bauer's books are a guaranteed good read.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I found this an easy-to-read and quite enjoyable thriller, although it does have some pretty serious flaws. Belinda Bauer writes well on the whole: she structures and paces her story well, creates some believable characters and managed to grip me in spite of my reservations. I thought the central two police officers were well-drawn and the story of teenage first love was believable and very touching. I agree with some other reviewers here that there are some horribly forced similes and the odd out-of-place word or phrase, but there were few enough not to spoil it for me and in general I found Bauer's prose enjoyable to read.

I have to say that I found the kidnapper's motivation simply absurd. I can't say more without giving away too much, but as a reason for committing multiple major crimes it's just silly. Bauer also creates an unconvincing unscrupulous journalist for the sole purpose of having a go at the press and eventually being able to humiliate her in revenge, which was an unnecessary and annoying distraction. I found the mental state of Jonas Holly (the village policeman) pretty implausible, too, and then there's the absurdity of the appearance of yet *another* probable mass murderer in a tiny Exmoor village. Midsomer's per capita crime rate looks realistic by comparison.

However, I found that I did enjoy the book and became quite gripped by it - largely, I think, because Bauer created characters I cared about and I wanted to find out what happened to them. It has little of the originality and depth of Blacklands, but if you are prepared to suspend disbelief from a pretty great height I can recommend it as a readable, largely brain-off thriller.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a dark, tension-filled story of child abductions taking place during one summer in Exmoor. Each time, a chilling note is left accusing the parents of not loving their child.

It's hard to categorise the book - it's part police procedural, part psychological thriller. But what set it apart for me was that most of the story was told from the viewpoint of the teenagers in the story and I felt the author caught the tone of each age group very well. I haven't read anything by Belinda Bauer before and so didn't know what to expect. I found it both well written and well structured and the tension mounted gradually towards a truly dramatic climax. Bauer observes her protagonists with a clear eye and an occasionally ironic turn of phrase.

I could criticise the book on the grounds of the unlikelihood of so many crimes having been committed in one small place, or the coincidence that some people involved in the stories of Bauer's previous works are caught up again in these separate events. But the fact is that I was so hooked that I read this book in one day and enjoyed every page.

If you, like me, are new to the author though, I would recommend starting with the first in the series, Blacklands, as I felt that knowing fully what had happened to the characters before would have made this book even more satisfying. I will certainly be backtracking to read the earlier ones. With that one small proviso, this book is highly recommended.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was looking forward to reading this as I'd read (& reviewed) Bauer's earlier novel Blacklands. In the earlier book I found her ability to write dark edgy books very appealing and her touch does not seem to have deserted her in this book. In a sense it follows on from Blacklands in that the setting and some of the characters are the same however it would not be necessary to have read the earlier book to enjoy this one (I haven't read Darkside myself yet but I think I will be ordering it soon!). Put simply a child goes missing and a note is left "You don't love him", and then another child and then another... This is the story of the investigation.

The characters (with one exception) are good and the writing is dark and edgy. I do object to some of the aspects of the lead detective - I'm sure it is possible to write an imperfect policeman without becoming quite as silly about the character. However this is a fairly minor irritation in a story which held my attention fully. While it is edgy it is also written with some humour and I smiled a few times (if the policeman was meant to be funny that didn't work for me). As far as was possible I was kept guessing until the end - one aspect of the story is "solved" quite easily, another area is not and I'm not sure quite what I think about one person's guilt or not even having finished it but that is not an issue for me. A good dark crime story which is less than straightforward which I would recommend.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

£7.99
£8.99

Need customer service? Click here