Belinda Bauer: Blacklands

Was an ntertaining Naked enoughasy to read filler book I can actually see it as making a fantastic film In the UK we can make brilliant gritty dramas making characters very very real with a host of fantastic actors that can make bleak tales SO amazing anything with Paddy Considine for Shadow Scale (Seraphina, example and we re great for gritty film noir child actors I d certainly watch it and I think an adaptation would really bring the story to life and make it believable no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter may be A Belinda Bauer book has been on my radar for uite some time and here I am after finishing her debut Blacklands It was worth the wait I m happy to say I m blown away by her style of writing I ve held off giving 5 stars because I think there may well beven better to comeThe story is one of a young boy Steven Lamb growing in a small village near Exmoor His uncle had been at roughly the same age as Steven is now when he had been murdered Claim The Crown eighteen yearsarlier The body never recovered was thought to have been disposed of somewhere on the moors We then have the perpetrator Arnold Avery a paedophile who had been caught whilst trying to molest a young boy and subseuently convicted of the murders of other children and Steven s brother What follows is a two handed story of Steven and Arnold On the one hand we have a coming of age story with Steven in his struggle to comprehend Nerds everything that has gone on before and since and how he feels he can make things right betterven for himself and mostly for his family And on the other we have an insight into Arnold s world which I know many would find difficult to read and go there to What I think is brilliantly done is how Ms Bauer is able to tell the tale from a 12 year old s point of view some of his decision making would have been really uestionable had he been much older but from a child felt much believable And though the paedophilia is dark and an area no one particularly wants to think about it s handled with touches of lightness and dexterity and is not gruesome or graphic Disturbing yes but handled well in my opinion The strength of the book for me was the language used in the storytelling beautiful prose In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, excellent descriptiveness and characterisation A real sense of place with the moors taking centre stage which in turn made the whole thing feel suitably claustrophic and bleak with touches of light dappling throughIt s strange I know to say Injoyed a book that features such a subject matter but I did I Bark enjoyed the writing Steven s journey and how a young boy went to tremendous lengths to try and improve his life and those of his loved ones A sad but ultimately transitionary tale that I would highly recommend if you can get past this particular kind of darkness The One Sentence Summary A young boy writes to an imprisoned serial killer asking for help to find the body of his uncle whose disappearance at ageleven sent the whole family awryThe Meat and Potatoes Twelve year old Steven Lamb has a troubled home life His father left when he was young his Nan stands at the window all day waiting for her son Billy who disappeared in childhood and Steven s mother upset over being ignored after the disappearance of her brother takes out her frustrations on her children with the same coldness and bitterness that her mother showed her Steven thinks that if he can just find the bones of his Uncle Billy his whole family would be fixed After years of aimlessly digging holes where Arnold Avery Billy s suspected killer had buried his other victims he writes to the killer in prison I am looking for WP Can you help me This simple reuest opens the door and Steven soon finds out that much worse than obsessing over a serial killer is the serial killer obsessing over you Blacklands is both a crime novel and an On Such a Full Sea exploration into the afterffects of a violent crime on the family left behind Bauer spends as much time delving into the psychological state of the family as she does setting up the ultimate showdown between Steven and the killer Even though it is written in the third person omniscient POV Bauer does a fantastic job of putting us in the heads of ven minor characters Blacklands is set in Exmoor England a small rural village surrounded by wild moors and the small town isolated feel really pervades the story Bauer s descriptions are fantastic and you can really see smell and feel the landscape of the moor the spicy scents the prickly vegetation the thick brambles and the cool sea mist Bauer also incorporates images into the novel which is fairly uniue to the genre Rather than just presenting the typed text of Steven s letters to Avery we are given an image simple notebook paper with handwriting that could ither be taken as the carefully crafted print of a child or an adult in a rush In seeing Steven s actual writing we get of a feel for his character The Praiseworthy Bauer s scenes are very well thought out and plotted Each of them pulls its weight often accomplishing several different objectives at once For Cannibal example towards the beginning of the novel we are told about Steven repairing his Nan s shopping trolley substituting all terrain wheels from a buggy for the rickety metal wheels This scene leads into a reflection whichnds up underscoring the whole novel Decide what you want and then work out how to get it as well as setting up subtle indicators of his Nan s love for him despite her coldness she proudly shows off the heavy duty wheels to friends and walks with it Mastered (The Enforcers, even when not shopping Another greatxample of a scene that accomplishes several things at once is midway through the novel when the gua. Er school whilst his classmates swap football stickers twelve year old Steven digs holes on Exmoor hoping to find a body His uncle disappeared aged leven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery but his body has never been foundSteven's Nan does not believe her son is dead She still waits for him to come home standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around he.

This book was just okay I wasn t invested in the story so much as I thought the writing style was a little bit basic and at times I thought some scenes were a bit unrealistic On a positive note the ideas were good lots of interesting things were going on with the young boy Stephen writing to a serial killer in prison and what leads on from it it just wasn t for me I d give 25 star rating First Sentence Exmoor dripped with dirty bracken rough colorless grass prickly gorse and last year s heather so black it looked as if wet fire had swept across the landscape taking the trees with it and leaving the moor cold and xposed to face the winter unprotected Sociopath Arnold Avery raped and murdered children he admitted to six whose bodies were found One who was not found was Billy Peters The impact severely affected his family Eighteen years later his nephew 12 year old Steven Lamb believes if he can find Billy s body it will bring the family back together Spending his spare time digging holes in the moor bring Steven to the point of writing the imprisoned Avery in an attempt to figure out what will convenience the killer to provide the location The very opening of the book creates a sense of place and an atmosphere which is both gloomy and compelling There are no perfect characters here only human ones Steven s gram has become Alter Ego embittered and closed off following the disappearance of her son Billy Steven s mother closed off from her mother s affection has a string of failed relationships Uncle Jake one of Steven s mom s men provides Steven with the outward displays of love and understanding but is only around for short periods of time Steven s friend Lewis who realizes Steven is the smarter of them but needs to dominate the relationship Steven is by no means perfect He s a shy boy afraid of confrontation and knows his mother prefers his younger brother yet he constantly strives for the thing we all want love and acceptance Avery the imprisoned murderer is as far from perfect as one can get but is the person with whom Steven must form some level of a relationship in order to gain what he needs Through Bauer we understand how dangerous and impaired is Avery without her having to indulge in graphic detail In fact in some ways the hints and inferences areven ffective than detail would be What is particularly wonderful about Bauer s writing is that the characters alive and understandable she shows us Steven becoming mature in his thinking and reasoning yet still as a 12 year old boy At one point she talks about Steven s comprehension of Avery being a sociopath of the insignificance of one person to the whole of the universe and that asking Avery for help is akin to asking the Devil for mercy This is sophisticated stuff for a young boy but it works through our understanding of Steven s need She is also one of those wonderful authors who can take an inanimate object and make it not only an important lement but almost a character in the story Bauer does write dialogue well although there s not a lot of it as the book is written narrative She does often Uncommon Wisdom exhibit an wonderful turn of phrase Avery adapted so fast he d have blown a hole straight through Darwinism While I m one who really likes dialogue the narrative written in third person past tense works here mainly because of the uality of her writing This is not an action packed rapid fire action novel The melancholy of the story s opening sets the pace but never did I find the book to drag There isxcellent suspense At time she lets it build and then backs it down It then starts to build again slowly and relentlessly to an intense transition from where Steven was courting the Devil to where he has fully awakened and I found myself almost catching my breath The one real flaw for me is a dependence on some rather large coincidences Otherwise the book would have Unseen City earned top marks from me Still it was very close and one of the best reads I ve had in awhile and I can certain see why it won the Crime Writers Association CWA Golden Dagger Award for 2010 There is no uestion that Ms Bauer s next book Darkside will be on my reading listBLACKLANDS Susp Steven Lamb Devon England Cont VGBauer Belinda 1st bookSimon Schuster 2010 US Trade Paperback ISBN 1439149445 I was actually uite disappointed with Blacklands I thought that it was a good story but was very short and this could have been the reason that it didn t involve me as much as I felt that it should have there was just way too much missingIn the blurb Belinda Bauer says that she wrote the book as she was moved by the story of a mother whose child had been murdered many years before and she was curious about how that kind ofvent would affect a family long termhowever that is Art exactly what I believe was missing I felt that the mother and grandmother were really weak characters that I had nompathy for at all God Is in the Crowd even though I felt some amount of guilt as I knew that I SHOULD feel it They just didn t seem real to me at all they were very one dimensional The only reason theyven seemed to have one dimension was because of their relationship with StevenSteven felt like a real 12 year old boy and I did care about him Uncle Jude s character was also appealing but that was probably just because of the change in Steven when he was aroundStrangely I also didn t feel much hatred towards Avery he felt a bit of a cartoon villain to me rather than a paedophile serial child killerAlso although the story is set in recent years the idea of the family being oh so very poor makes it feel like it s been set in the 70s and for some reason just doesn t ring trueHowever it. Previously released dition of ISBN 9780552158848 VOTED CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR when it was first released and still the most gripping powerful thriller debut you will read this yearSPECIAL EDITION FEATURING AN EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT FROM BELINDA'S ADDICTIVE NEW NOVEL SNAP the book Val McDermid has hailed as the best crime novel she has read in years Steven Lamb is 12 when he writes his first letter to a serial killer Every day aft.

Rds at Avery s prison are opening the inmates correspondence and vetting the photographs This scene depicts the photo of Exmoor sent by Steven slipping through despite Avery s therapist s understanding that the sight of Avery s old burial ground would be unhealthily xciting to him At the same time the scene shows the reader that the guards have been confiscating nude photos of another prisoner s attractive wife which view spoilersets up a physical confrontation between this prisoner and a guard facilitating Avery s The Matriarchs (The Family escape hide spoiler Belinda Bauer is brilliant this is her debut novel and it delivered than I could have hoped for I read this book in two sittings and could not put it down The book switches between the world and thoughts of a young boy and a child serial killer it cleverly gives you insight into the work of both and how their lives intertwine and why The book grabbed me from the first page and I loved thending passionately It could have been a lot dark or gruesome this book but instead it just gives you glimmers of darkness just Notes for the Everlost enough to keep you wanting It is clever atmospheric and very very readable Absolutely brilliant read a crime novel but much than that I also loved her book Rubbernecker and now Belinda Bauer is by far one of my favourite authors This book shows the damage to a family through generations that a singlevil person can do It also shows the innocence of a child g I thought about giving it 4 maybe 4 and half stars but this book deserves a 5 star ratingThe writing in this book is beautiful It s impossible not to understand and feel Steven s pain It s heartbreaking to realize he s doing such When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) extraordinary thing find the body of his murdered uncle to fix his little broken family All he wants is to be normal and happy It s so simple and so poignant On the other side of theuation is Arnold Avery the serial killer who murdered Steven s uncle Billy Peters when he was a kid Arnold is very honest about who he is he doesn t try to justify himself or believes he has a right to do what he does This book is a mix of character study and mystery it is No Biggy! engaging breathtaking and heartbreaking It was hard to put it down I only did because I was falling asleep but picked it up right after getting upThis is a fast fantastic reading It deals tragedy and how it affects the lives of the survivors in the long term I can t recommend itnoughReview now posted on my blog Tiny Box of Imagination Posted to The Literary Lawyerca A Chilling Story of Innocence vs Evil 35 Stars This marks the third book I have read by Belinda Bauer A few things have become abundantly clear She is very skilled at writing young and innocent characters Blacklands is no xception Her novels are coming of age stories wrapped in violence and the loss of innocence Although this novel receives my lowest mark to date it is still an xceptional novel and confirms her status a new favorite author Plot summary Steven is young man with a strange and slightly disturbing pastime Eighteen years previous and before he was born his uncle Billy a child himself went missing At that time many kids had gone missing and Arnold Avery a notorious serial killer admitted to many of their disappearances Billy s disappearance was never solved As it was always believed that Avery had taken Billy young Stephen spends his free time digging holes in the area where Avery had buried the bodies Stephen believes that if he can find the remains of his long missing uncle that the scars his family carries around will begin to heal The story takes and unexpected turn when Stephen begins a series of correspondence with the jailed killer In his uest to solve the mystery Stephen learns lessons about family love friendship and fear The Good I really do Attracting Birds to Your Backyard enjoy the young characters that Belinda Bauer creates She has a keen sense of the mind of the young and it is intriguing to see how she uses the innocent and often flawed thought processes of her characters Her stories would not work with adult characters at the centre No one would believe a grown man without mental illness would spend his days digging for a dead I am dumbfounded just finished Black lands by Belinda Bauer still thinking about thending I can t believe this was her first novel kudos to miss Bauer it was a riveting thriller that I could not put down I have read Rubbernecker Deep Listening even think this was much better her writing style in this novel was brilliant the charactersspecially Steven Arnold Avery had me spell bound just couldn t take my Bird-by-Bird Gardening eyes of these Characters just beautifully writtenThe plot drew me in from the very first page this novel tells the story of Steven Lamb who always wanted to know how his uncle Billy was killed where he was buried so he decides to write to Arnold Avery who is doing time in jail for the murders of young boys he writes back to Steven as the letters go back forth Arnold Avery becomes so connected to Steven he decides to get out of jail finally kill him as wellAs the story goes on Steven hatches a plan to find out the truth meets him at the moors with Lewis his friend when they see a man at the othernd just looking at both of them Steven recognises him but Lewis Doesn tAs Steven was Bullied by THE HOODIES at school it had made him tougher stronger he wasn t scared of Avery he told Lewis to run he did but Steven held his ground what happens from hereon in is a game of wits between Avery Steven that goes right to the The Works of Saint Augustine end of no returnI just lovedverything about this book Unbuttoning the CEO (The Suits Undone especially the way Steven was writtenven though he was still a boy he became a man as the plot came to a thrilling climax. R Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it's too late ven if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered sonSo Steven 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 psychopath Belinda Bauer's pulse pounding new thriller SNAP is available to pre order

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Summary Blacklands

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa She has worked as a journalist and screenwriter and her script THE LOCKER ROOM earned her the Carl ForemanBafta Award for Young British Screenwriters an award that was presented to her by Sidney Poitier She was a runner up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition for Mysterious Ways about a girl stranded on a desert island with 30000 Bib