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Publisher's 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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Paul
  • Plympton, Australia
  • 01-28-13

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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  • Margaret
  • Brighton East, Australia
  • 06-12-12

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.

  • Overall

Riviting stuff.

I usually only listen to audio books when I go for my daily walk but with Blacklands I had to listen to the end. If you like a good thriller this one is for you.

Twenty odd years ago a child disappeared. It was believed he fell victim to a serial killer though his body was never recovered. The nephew, Stephen, lives in the shadow of that tragedy, and he dreams of finding the body of that child to give peace of mind to his family. He writes to the serial killer who is in gaol and there begins a sinister cat and mouse game between the killer and his new prey.

I got goose bumps listening to this. I also found it quite moving. Thoroughly recommend this.

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  • robert
  • 03-31-10

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mr Valentine 'Bunny' Prendergast
  • 03-15-12

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dani
  • 04-24-16

Darker than expected

Well written, interesting story. Though a lot darker content than I'd expected. Great performance by Prendergast, added to the characters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Evar
  • 12-26-14

Thrilling

Would you consider the audio edition of Blacklands to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version but to outrank the audio edition will be difficult. The narrator does an excellent job.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The principal character. The writer has done a formidable job portraying him. You can not help but hoping the best for him.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed each and every scene.

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

Several moments, both scenes from the principal characters home and from his school.

Any additional comments?

A really entertaining book, you are in good company with both the writer and the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • knittyboot
  • 04-17-14

lovely book

Any additional comments?

I wasn't sure about this book, I dislike true crime and the obvious comparisons between this book and the moors murders made me feel a little unsure. This book kind of imagines a story given the basic idea of Keith Bennett and his poor mother. I like most people who know about the moors murders have tried to picture how such a terrible thing would effect the people involved. This book imagines that scenario and weaves a really quite sweet story around it. It in no way trivializes and is not disrespectful. As I said a lovely book