Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer - a different and creative crime novel

Original Title: Blacklands
Norwegian Title: Blacklands
Written by: Belinda Bauer
Genre: a crime novel
Written for: Adult
Pages: 348
Published: 2010
Published in Norway: 2011
My Copy: 2010 (Paperback)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
I read it: April 21Th - April 24Th

My Rate: ☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠ (10/10 Skulls)

The Lamb family is not an ordinary family. The members are two boys, a mother, a grandmother and an uncle (uncle Jude lives there from time to time). The eldest of the two boys is Steven. He's 12 years old and he feels sorry for his grandmother. She has been very sad in many years. 'Cause she once had a son named Billy who disappeared when he was 11 years - old. Even though the police and everyone else thinks he has been murdered and claimed to catch the guy who has killed other children at that time, thinks Billy is dead somewhere and will never come back. But she is standing by the window or the front door - hoping that her son will show up one day like nothing has ever happened. That makes her grandson, Steven very sad. He miss building up relationship with her and the rest of the family. Steven has a dream to make his family whole and be close to each other like most families. He wants his granny to move on and realize that her son never comes back.

To help his grandmother to move on, he goes around the landscape just outside his small hometown and digging after his uncle's body. He has to find the body so that his grandmother can say goodbye to him, and then they can be an ordinary family. Even though Steven got his brother and his mum, he also wants to be friends with his grandmother. He wants her to be normal. Steven is digging in a landscape where it's suppose to be other dead bodies of children buried somewhere. 'Cause there was a time at the same time when his Uncle Billy disappeared, that a child killer was around named Arnold Avery and accused for killing several kids and Steven believe that uncle Billy most be one of them. But after many years of digging - Steven is about to lose his hope. He must have a clue to where to look. To get that clue, he decide to write to the killer, Arnold Avery. Arnold Avery is in prison and with a lot of hard work with that letter, Steven finally decide to send it. Will Arnold Avery ever respond him or will Steven end up digging for the body for the rest of his life?

I had never heard of this book before I came across it at a book store in November last year. The reason why I haven't read it before now is 'cause I buy more books than I can read. I mean, where's the time? I love reading but the time goes so fast that most books I buy have to wait 'cause there's always books I have to read first. It's a classic problem for me 'cause there's so many books I want to read that I don't know where to start. Wish I could read all day. That would be nice. But I read as often as I can 'cause can't live without books, you know. But the reason why I wanted to read this book in Easter Holiday is 'cause in Norway, most of us have the tradition to read crime novels and watch crime TV-series. I don't know why but it's sort of a tradition that started in Norway many, many years ago. And I think it's a great tradition 'cause I do love reading crime novels (it's what I read most of the rest of the year next to horror, those are my fave genres). And since just before Easter, Blacklands had just been published in Norwegian and many Norwegian news papers has been bragging a lot about this book. So I thought it was about time I should read it since I already got the book in English. And I was hoping that this book would live up to all this bragging so I read it in the holiday. I'm glad I did 'cause this book is very, very exciting!

Going into the mind of twelve-year-old Steven and the serial killer Arnold Avery was a big contract, of course, but I really liked it. It's believable and a fresh way to read a different kind of crime novel. I love crime novels with a lot of gore and stuff, like Mo Hayder books, but it's also good with a change. This books is not gory and bloody - it's more psychological.

It's hard to understand that a twelve-year-old would go out and dig for a dead body day in and day out, but sometimes it's not. I mean who wouldn't do anything to make their families happy and close again?

Blacklands is a special and kind of disturbing book about the dark side of life. About the parent's worst nightmare and how naive children can be sometimes. I mean, who doesn't fear child killers? This is exciting and very intense reading. It's a book that will make you think, the plot is original and it's one of the best debuts I've read! Belinda Bauer do knows how to write and I hope I'll get to read more books written by her. 'Cause Blacklands is a rare crime novel who really makes good impression. This is a crime novel that I won't forget so easily. Now that this book is translated in Norwegian, I'm happy to know that it will make more people to read it. 'Cause this book deserves a lot of attention and readers. It should be read if you're a crime novel fan or not.

Even though it's already been a while since I finished this book - I must admit that it still haunts me today. I can still hear Steven's voice and thoughts.

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