Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

About the book

Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery. Only Steven’s Nan is not convinced her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it’s too late. And if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son, he’ll do it. So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer.

Reviewed by Bookends Reading Group:

Disturbing, unusual, thought provoking subject. Extremely well written and well researched for a first novel. Look forward to the next.

Star rating: 5 stars

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3 thoughts on “Blacklands by Belinda Bauer”

  1. Review by Barnfield Reading Group:
    Chilling, uncomfortable, challenging. Well written, emotionally moving, thought provoking. Excellent book for discussion.
    Star rating: ****

  2. Review by Novel Ideas
    The book showed the effect of a murder on a family. Clever interchange between Steven and Avery. Quite realistic setting and quite atmospheric.
    We don’t recommend it. Not too many characters is the only positive point.
    Star rating: **

  3. Review by Bridgemary Library Reading Group
    Interesting read, surprising twists. Good characters. Unusual to have a thriller from a child’s perspective but we liked it.
    Star rating ***

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