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Es write dialogue well although there s not a lot of it as the book is written narrative She does often 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 is excellent 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 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 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 be even 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 eighteen years earlier 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 everything that has gone on before and since and how he feels he can make things right better even 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 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 I enjoyed a book that features such a subject matter but I did I enjoyed the writing Steven s ourney 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 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 the ending passionately It could have been a lot dark or gruesome this book but instead it The Black Academic's Guide to Winning Tenure--Without Losing Your Soul just gives you glimmers of darknessust enough to keep you

Wanting It Is Clever 
It is clever 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 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 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 the euation is Arnold Avery the serial Killer Who Murdered Steven S who murdered Steven s Billy Peters when he was a kid Arnold is very honest about who he is he doesn t try to Randomized Algorithms Cambridge International Series on Parallel Computation 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 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 it enoughReview now posted on my blog Tiny Box of Imagination I am dumbfoundedust finished Black lands by Belinda Bauer still thinking about the ending 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 even think this was much better her writing style in this novel was brilliant the characters especially Steven Arnold Avery had me spell bound Northanger Abbey just couldn t take my eyes of these Charactersust 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 Longman Academic Writing Series 5 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 ofail 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 other end The Japanese Pottery Handbook: Revised Edition 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 end of no returnIust loved everything about this book especially the way Steven was written even though he was still a boy he became a man as the plot came to a thrilling climax. Writing Steven has a flash of inspiration Careful to hide his identity he secretly pens a letter to Avery in ail asking for help in finding the body of WP William Billy Peters So begins a dangerous cat and mouse game Just as Steven tries to use Avery to pinpoint the gravesite so Avery misdirects and teases his mysterious correspondent in order to relive his heinous crimes And when Avery finally realizes that the letters he’s receiving are from a twelve year old boy suddenly his life has purpose too Although his is far dangerous. ,


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BlacklandsThis book was ust 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 The Conditions of Agricultural Growth The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure just wasn t for me I d give 25 star rating 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 wasust 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 of event would affect a family long termhowever that is exactly what I believe was missing I felt that the mother and grandmother were really weak characters that I had no empathy for at all even though I felt some amount of guilt as I knew that I SHOULD feel it They عمارة يعقوبيان just didn t seem real to me at all they were very one dimensional The only reason they even 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 probablyust 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 Jane Addams just doesn t ring trueHowever it was an entertaining enough easy 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 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 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 age eleven 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 canust 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 exploration into the after effects 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 the killer Even though it is written in the third person omniscient Bauer does a fantastic ob of putting us in the heads of even 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 ust presenting the typed text of Steven s letters to Avery we are given an image simple notebook paper with handwriting that could either 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 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 which ends 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 even when not shopping Another great example of a scene that accomplishes several things at once is midway through the novel when the guards 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 exciting 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 escape hide spoiler This book shows the damage to a family through generations that a single evil person can do It also shows the innocence of a child growing up with this damage and how that child believes he can correct and repair the damage Then there s the evil and it doesn t go away can t be healed or cured must be eradicated I liked the way Bauer described the evil She kept it hidden and under control until the end when liked the way Bauer described the evil She kept it hidden and under control until the end when sick slimy black evil was revealed Excellent book and I highly recommend it 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 and innocent characters Blacklands is exception 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 exceptional 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 Bil. A taut and chillingly atmospheric debut that signals the arrival of a bright new voice in psychological suspense and a brilliant analysis of an exceedingly twisted mind Chicago Tribune Eighteen years ago Billy Peters disappeared Everyone in town believes Billy was murdered after all serial killer Arnold Avery later admitted killing six other children and burying them on the same desolate moor that surrounds their small English village Only Billy’s mother is convinced he is alive She still stands lonely guard at the front window Ly 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 ailed killer In his uest to solve the mystery Stephen learns lessons about family love friendship and fear The Good I really do 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 body yet it is utterly believable when it is a childThe reader must know in advance that a child protagonist does not mean the story is childish This is most definitely not for children The antagonist is a dark and disturbing character He is a paedophile who has murdered a significant number of young boys Unlike her later novels Bauer also delves into the mind of the killer and let me tell you the thought process of a person like Avery is not at all pleasing The Bad Having read Rubbernecker and The Facts of Life and Death I found myself comparing this to her recent works It is likely that had I read this one before the other two mentioned I would have given Blacklands a higher rating As a first novel this is an exceptional effortAs with the other two book of hers which I have read this is a character novel It is the characters of Avery and Stephen that are the focus of the story and their thought processes their actions and the reasoning behind their decisions that make the story My major complaint is that the characters were less developed than her later novels It may be that the focus on two points of view in this novel detracted from the overall developmentStephen often came across as rather flat While I think I understood his motivation for wandering the land and digging holes I did not feel that it was fully developed It seems that all of my recent reads have been character novels and I fell this is a bit lacking overall Final Thoughts It may be that I am being a bit hard on the author given my enjoyment of her most recent work In fairness I would expect to see improvement in later novels Overall I did enjoy this story It was eual parts disturbing and intriguing While at times Stephen was flat Avery was always creepy and disturbing I think that Blacklands is best enjoyed before Bauer s later offerings This novel displays enough of her skill for the reader to enjoy the story and her later novels will allow you to enjoy her maturity as a writer Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sexviolencelanguage content of book if you are interested I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading Disclaimer I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read I am simply giving approximationsScale 1 Lowest 5 Highest Sex 2 There is a flashback in which Avery exposes himself to a child The subtext to the story is that Avery sexually assaulted young boys That said it is only inferred from the story and there is nothing explicit Some readers will find the inference to be disturbing but there is no graphic content Language 3 As in most of Bauer s novels the young characters use age appropriate language On a few occasions the characters use the f word and there is some low usage of mild obscenities Violence 25 Violence is a backdrop for the story There is a series of child murders but they are not discussed in any detail The disturbing part is the fact that Avery continues to think back on the events as it bring him pleasure There is one scene of violence that is mildly graphic but moderately disturbing 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 exposed to face the winter unprotected sociopath arnold avery raped and winter unprotected Sociopath Arnold Avery raped and children he Admitted To Six Whose Bodies Were Found One Who Was to six whose bodies were found One who was 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 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 are even effective 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 element but almost a character in the story Bauer do. F her home waiting for her son to return while her remaining family fragments around her But her twelve year old grandson Steven is determined to heal the cracks that gape between his nan his mother his brother and himself Steven desperately wants to bring his family closure and if that means personally finding his uncle’s corpse he’ll do it Spending his spare time digging holes all over the moor in the hope of turning up a body is a long shot but at least it gives his life purpose Then at school when the lesson turns to letter.