At the height of summer a dark shadow falls across Exmoor. Children are being stolen from cars. Each disappearance is marked only by a terse note – a brutal accusation. There are no explanations, no ransom demands... and no hope. Policeman Jonas Holly faces a precarious journey into the warped mind of the kidnapper if he's to stand any chance of catching him. But – still reeling from a personal tragedy – is Jonas really up to the task? Because there's at least one person on Exmoor who thinks that, when it comes to being the first line of defence, Jonas Holly may be the last man to trust.
©2012 Belinda Bauer (P)2012 Isis Publishing Ltd
"an enjoyably creepy premise." (Observer)
It's the third book in a loose series and if you've read the first two you can't help but roll your eyes a bit that the same small part of England is once again the scene for unspeakable crimes, especially when the same family that has been victimised before (by completely different evil doers) is once again under attack. So I'd have liked the author to branch out a little.
No. I think it's time for this author to move on to other characters and settings. She is a great writer - witty and accurate in her human observations and really draws the reader into a world - but I don't need to read any more about evil in Shipcott.
I found the book to be spoilt by the depiction of the police investigating the case being akin to the kind of "Plod" resembling Dixon of Dock Green. Children are going missing, right under their noses, in a small village type setting, and the police appear oddly detached and sit about waiting for the next child to be taken basically, again right under their noses. This gave the book in my opinion an air of incredulity from start to finish. There was no real "search" for the missing children other than knocking on a few random doors and no-one was investigated or rounded up for questioning? The children were missing for months and there was no sign of reality of the race to find them. Everyone involved was about as laid back as if they were dealing with a lost cat. A big old abandoned set of farm buildings nearby didn't come up on the police radar as a possibility of somewhere to hide children?
"Chilling and athmospheric"
Yes. Belinda Bauer's thriller is not a who-done-it, the perpetrator is made clear early in the novel, but an unsettling psychological study of captor and captive. The motivations and reactions of each character is excellently captured and I would be happy to read about their development again.
After some minutes of listening to this book I felt I had some idea of what path it was taking but I was constantly surprised by Bauer's writing. The novel combines great tension and excellent character studies.
The characters he embodies range from young children to elderly men and in each case he captures the personality perfectly and uniquely in his reading. A masterly performance.
I didn't listen to this book in one sitting because at times the tension created was so intense I needed to break of. But I was always eager to get back to it!
This is a stand alone book though some of the characters in it feature in Bauer's earlier novels Blacklands and Darkside. I would recommend all three. She is a writer who avoids the obvious path and always creates a totally engaging and unsettling world for the reader or listener.
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