Book Review: Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
February 1, 2013 11 Comments
Belinda Bauer’s debut thriller, Blacklands, was a book I very much enjoyed. I somehow missed her next two books, but the fourth, Rubbernecker, is again very good.
If you’re a thriller fan, don’t miss this one!
Rubbernecker: What it is about
Patrick is a young man with Asperger’s syndrome. His relationship with his mother has never been good, she rejected him from the moment she found out he was different. Ever since his father died he has been obsessed with death and dead animals. He joins a dissection course, in which human bodies are taken apart bit by bit by medical students to learn about anatomy. He discovers something odd about the body he and his group of students are dissecting.
In a second storyline, a man wakes from a coma and watches another patient being killed. He cannot communicate well enough to tell anyone and he is worried he might be next. We also learn about his nurse, who is after the husband of another coma patient.
Patrick finds it hard to understand his class mates because of his inability to interpret non-verbal clues. But while he is working on the dead patient, he becomes better at decoding the behaviour of others and learns a lot about himself in the process.
Someone does not want him to discover the cause of death of the person he’s dissecting and things become very scary for Patrick.
Rubbernecker: What I thought
This was a very good read. I loved the story from the very beginning. For a long time, this was not a thriller but the story of a young man with Asperger’s and he was a fascinating person: His obsession with death, the way he fails to successfully communicate with other people, the rejection from his mother. And then there was the coma ward where a man who cannot talk or move observes what is happening around him.
Patrick seems a bit young for his age. To me, he seemed about 15 years of age. In reality, he was about 20 years old. Whether his affliction made him act younger, I don’t know, but it was something I found a bit odd. Other than that, he seemed a believable character – his Asperger’s wasn’t milked indefinitely but was mentioned only at times where it was relevant (mainly when dealing with other people).
There are some situations that are rather unlikely to happen, but because it’s Patrick who is involved, who, with his Asperger’s thinks differently from other people, it is more or less believable. Patrick just goes for what he wants, and what other people think of it is of no concern of him. He’s not squeamish either so he gets himself in situations where the average person would be completely repulsed.
Which brings me to the point that some of the dissection talk is not so suitable when you’re having dinner (I speak from experience). The story is a little gruesome but nothing to make you dream badly for nights on end.
I loved this story and I think that anyone who likes a good thriller will enjoy this book.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 320 (hardback)
First published: 2013
I got this book: from Transworld Publishers via Netgalley (ebook). Special thanks to Lynsey!
Have you read this book?
What did you think?