Blacklands is Belinda Bauers first novel although she has worked as a journalist and screenwriter prior to this. The book revolves around Steven Lamb a twelve year old boy living in Somerset with his family consisting of his younger brother, mother and grandma. Steven doesn’t live in the happiest of households so everyday he goes out on to Exmoor to dig holes looking for bodies. The reason he digs these holes is to try and find his Uncle which he never knew, who disappeared when he was aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery.
Steven’s grandma still believes her son might be alive and waits staring out of the family home window on the off chance she might see her son come back home but all this does is tear the family further apart than it already is. Steven feels his only chance to fix the problems his family has is to either bring his uncles bones home or to get an answer straight from the horses mouth.
To Steven this can only be done one way, so he carefully writes a letter to Arnold Avery in prison but this only starts a dangerous game between him, a twelve year old boy and Avery a bored serial killer.
Although the subject matter is very dark this book was a real page turner and though this is a debut novel i felt that Belinda Bauer has a real grasp of writing a good crime/mystery novel. Definitely worth a read in my opinion.