Summary

Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to lay to rest the ghost of his uncle, who disappeared aged 11 and is assumed to have fallen victim to the serial killer Arnold Avery. Only Steven's Nan is not convinced her son is dead. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks in his family 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 game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer. A game that will have more terrifying consequences than Steven could ever imagine.
©2010 Belinda Bauer (P)2010 Isis Publishing Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By robert on 31-03-10

Compulsive Listening

For me, Colleen Prendergast's strong vocal performance captures the sometimes disturbing nature of the strange relationships portrayed in this highly entertaining and though-provoking novel. I found it really hard to turn off after the first twenty minutes and I thoroughly enjoyed "working out the ending", which was not too difficult to do. I think that the beauty of this book lies in the characterisation and in the clear, simple evocation of life for a damaged family in the aftermath of a nightmare every parent dreads.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr Valentine 'Bunny' Prendergast on 15-03-12

Dark, terrifying and moving

Beautifully written and performed (Wolverhampton accent slightly dodgy) tale of a family broken apart by tragedy and the small lonely boy who tries to put things back together with frightening results.

Thoroughly recommended!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 28-01-13

Suspense, character, mystery

My first reaction when I started reading this novel was to kick myself for wasting my credit. The murders took place years ago and the murderer is already behind bars. Where's the mystery? But I soon got into it. The novel is not a murder mystery, but a psychological thriller. What makes it different is that it is told largely from the point of view of an eleven year old boy. The author captures his mental processes, emotional development and the troubles of schoolboy friendships brilliantly. There is mystery too, as young Steven follows the clues. But I don't want to give the plot away. On the other side, part of the story is told from the vantage point of an evil child killer who has no excuse for his crimes. And yet, in spite of the repulsion he elicits from us, we somehow become interested in what happens to him. A superbly crafted thriller.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Margaret on 12-06-12

Bleak but brilliant

What made the experience of listening to Blacklands the most enjoyable?

This novel is gripping and beautifully told. The characterisations are excellent, and in the case of Steven, heartbreaking. The portrayals of good-hearted Steven growing up in poverty, unnoticed by his tragically damaged family and of Arnold Avery, the cold-blooded serial killer of children, are compelling.

What other book might you compare Blacklands to and why?

Belinda Bauer shows great promise and this novel is every bit as good as a Ruth Rendell.

What does Colleen Prendergast bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Colleen Prendergast was pitch perfect in her narration. Her reading of the novel did not intrude on the story, as is the case with some readers.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending was particularly moving.

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