The hunter is about to become the hunted…
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 . . .
Introduction from the author:
The cat and mouse game a twelve-year-old boy plays with a serial killer.
My first book, Blacklands is probably my most personal, reflecting as it does my own memories and experiences of childhood. Into that mix I’ve introduced Arnold Avery – the most heinous monster any child could imagine.
I wanted to write about the way a terrible crime can pass through the generations like ripples on a pond.Your Comments(28) »
In response to Tony, I would say that it is only fitting and completes the dreadful circle, that the Grannie who walked with the trolley, made by grandson Steven, clocked the killer.Having to end the long drawn out story with the sudden ending to resolve was impressive
I was baffled by the ending. Why would anyone grab a shopping trolley before running onto a moor to rescue a child from a killer? A baseball bat or a knife would be understandable but lugging a shopping trolley over rough terrain in order to bash in the face of a murderer doesn’t make sense to me….
Loved it. The simple logic of this boy’s actions are beautiful and horrifying in their repercussions. Accurately captures the lost centers of families of this kind. No one only loses a child when they lose a child.
I am a custodian at a library in Wisconsin, USA, who peruses the stacks when cleaning. Excellent first sentence(my way of deciding whether a writer is worth my time). My only complaint is that it was so short. The pleasure was ended all to quickly.
I discovered this book through kindle choices. I’m so pleased I did! So, off to the library for the next ones. A real page turner and attention grabber. I was reading it through the night too, and really anxious about how it would end. The character of Steven was very believable, and so was Arnold Avery. He felt horribly real and his logic was frighteningly believable. The sort of book that stays with you! I think it will make a good book group choice – I shall definitely be recommending it. Thank you, Belinda.
Bought this book for my teenage son who enjoyed it soo much that he insisted I also read it. Wow i loved it – it reduced to me to tears at the end. Can’t wait to read one of your other books.
I loved Black Lands, it was one of those books that fills you with adrenaline and makes you want to scream at someone to run! It was just great and now I’m going to be telling everyone to read it, Thankyou
Thank you to everyone who has come here and left kind comments about my work. I read every comment and appreciate them all so much. I hope you continue to enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
All the best, Belinda
Belinda I love your books. I was recommened Blacklands by a friend and now Im leading the book in our January Book Group. Im looking forward to your new book . Thanks Sue ( Librarian) – Sue Morrison
Belinda, I’m so sorry that I have only just read your Blacklands this week. It was fantastic. I haven’t read such a complelling and disturbing book in a long while. It is a book that will stay with one for a long time and have me talking about for a longer time. When I read the last page of Blacklands I said out loud to my empty lounge room ‘Well done’. It was meant for you. Keep writing – you are REALLY good! There will be films made of your books. It’s just a matter of time. All the best. – Patrick Hill
I was sent “Blacklands” by Simon & Schuster for review and can’t tall you how glad I am. What a marvelous book you’ve written. It will be my great pleasure to send them my review. I am very much looking forward to reading your second book. Thank you! – LJ Roberts
Belinda, your books are fabulous! I am a 75-year old California woman who loves mysteries and crime novels. But they must be well written and have substance, Don’t like cozy mysteries. You just keep in going, friend, youhave a real talent! – Sally Kendall
I have just discovered you, Belinda, through Blacklands. It is superb and astonishing how you wrote through the eyes of the boy. I even saw some of my childhood self in your writing – amazing! I am hooked! Thank you. – Geoff Edwards
Couldn’t put it down,loved it, will be looking for more. – George Cochrane
Read the review to Finders Keepers in the observer review. Very intrigued so ordered looked up on my Kobo christmas present library, ordered my first ever E-Book which was ‘Blacklands’. Had worries about reading about the subject of child murderer, but found it wasnt anything gruesome, and the book is about the people and how they are affected, but without the ‘maudlin’. Just finished the 2nd book, feeling real empathy for Jonas Holly. Have at this second downloaded Finders keepers, so looking forward to more good reads. – Lisa Jones
I was sent a review copy of “Blacklands” by Simon & Schuster. It knocked me out! And I’ve said so in my review to them as well as at Amazon.co.uk (http://tinyurl.com/3vb3n6l as well)as well as all the other publications (inc. “The Strand”), newsletters and sites for whom I write reviews.
Now if only S&S would send me “Darkside” to review as well.
NOTE: The form for email updates does not accept non-UK postal codes. HEY! What about your burdening number of US and other fans? That really should be fixed.
– LJ Roberts
Blacklands is a special book.
Readers will connect on an emotional level to the main character-Steven Lamb. I wanted to dive into the book and help him, console him, help him. His complex relationship with his mum and gran…his jealousy regarding his brother and his quest to find the body of his long dead uncle make this a compelling and gripping novel.
This is a superb debut novel and will remain on my book shelf forever. – Alison Butler (Author of the Hanging of Margaret Dickson – to be released December 2011)
Bravo on a magnificent novel. You made me feel like an 11 yr old boy (and I’m a 58 yr old woman) and you touched my heart. Thank you. – Nancy Mack
Very well written with a superb twist !! Met Belinda Bauer at the Cowbridge Book Festival. Such an interesting young woman she drew me to reading both of her books – Janet Pearce
Bought Dark Side for my daughter. She hadn’t read it and I was scrabbling round for something to read, so gave it a go. Fantastic book, I enjoyed it so much that I immediately downloaded Blaclkands, which is just as good. Am now reading finders keepers. I strongly recommend all 3 books. I can’t wait for her next book.
Hard to believe this is a debut novel; it is so expertly written. Highly original and totally engrossing. Also, amidst all the horror and tension, there is a wonderfully humourous scene on the shooting range.
I love it, i’m reading the italian version, it’s really, really, engaging, and well written. Thanks a lot Belinda.
I stayed up until 6am on a school night/day because I couldn’t put this down. Well, actually I had to put it down once because I needed to take a moment. I was so nervous about what was happening. Also!!! So beautiful. I need to go back and bookmark some of the passages that took my breath away. “Everyone should make his mark.” amazing. I will be starting Darkside in a few hours.
Blacklands – what an amazing read! I am working my way through the crime section at the library and happen to be on B. Can’t wait to read the next book. Thank you Belinda
I could not put this book down. Loved it.
Gorgeous book. I love the setup of the two characters having that dangerous back and forth game… It was a fast read, vivid and unputdownable. The setting really came to life; so did the characters. I’ve just read Darkside (and was terribly afraid more awful things were going to happen to Steven) and felt a sort of jolt at seeing a familiar name from the first book. I’m looking forward for the next.
Amreading this at the moment and finding it hard to put down.The tension rises page by page and I find myself fearing for Steven’s safety but hoping for his triumph.Brilliantly written and a plot that has engaged me from page 1.
Stumbled across “Blacklands” here in Michigan in the States while shopping at a local store. Its a very good read so far and has a good feel for what being a victim’s family of a terrible crime goes through. Will be on the hunt for your other works as well..
Like many I suspect, I recently ‘discovered’ Belinda through the Sunday Times Culture supplement feature and the somewhat sombre tone of subject matter appealed immediately. My usual reading matter of recent times is Rankin, Herbert (the better ones), Mankell etc and before you could say ‘Amazon Login’ I had bought both her books. Absolutely fantastic and, without sounding trite I hope, the reader really does feel deeply involved with the characters and their assembled situations from the outset. The insight into being a 12 year old boy (having been one myself some years back) is uncannily accurate – sometimes it’s the very small things that matter most…. I am already looking forward to the next book (sorry Belinda, I guess everyone says the same). Enjoy…..