Book Review: Blacklands by Belinda Bauer
February 12, 2011 15 Comments
I was very tempted, though, as I read some good reports on the book and I put it on my wishlist.
This month and the next, Transworld are running the Great Transworld Crime Caper in which book bloggers choose three books from a list of crime books, which they are then sent for review. I was very pleased to see Blacklands on the list, and of course it was my first choice!
Blacklands: What it is about
Steven Lamb is an twelve-year old boy with an unusual hobby. On the moors near his house in Exmoor in England he digs for bodies. Actually, just one body: that of his uncle Bill, who was killed by a serial killer when he was about eleven years old. The killer is in prison but the body was never found.
Steven hopes that when he finds the body, his grandmother and his mother, with whom he lives, will finally notice him, embrace him as a hero and show their love for him.
He has been digging in his free time for years, but realises the best way to find where the body is, is to write to the killer and ask him. So he does. This starts off a series of events that put Steven in a very dangerous position.
Blacklands: What I thought
This book was not a conventional thriller as only towards the very end of the book, there were developments that put people at danger. The rest of the book worked towards this, but in a more gentle fashion.
I believed in Steven as an underdog, at school and at home. The only thing he was good at, was writing letters. So, although he was being bullied by “the hoodies” and bossed around by his best friend Lewis, he wasn’t worried about contacting a serial killer, because he was good at writing letters.
I really liked that reasoning. I wondered if Steven was a little too clever for his age understanding the cryptic messages that Arnold Avery, the killer, sent him, but it was still within the possible.
The book alternated between the story of Steven and that of Avery. We didn’t get many graphic details of Avery’s crimes, which I was grateful for.
A great read.
Extra: See my review of Rubbernecker.