Review: Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Bantam Press, 2013 an imprint of Transworld Publishers. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 469 KB. Print Length: 432 pages. Epub ISBN 9781446465929. ASIN: B009A94CAQ

Rubbernecker revolves mainly around two characters. One is a man in coma. However, he’s able to remember and observes what happens around him. His name, as the reader will discover later on, is Sam Galen. Sam has been the victim of a car accident. One day, he witnesses the murder of the coma patient who was right next to him. Sam, unable to communicate, has become obsessed with the idea that he is going to be murdered as well. Sam’s story is interspersed with that of a young man called Patrick with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Patrick is severely obsessed with death. As a child, he witnessed the death of his father in a hit-and-run accident. Since that time he is trying to work out the meaning of death. Today he has enrolled in an anatomy course at the University of Cardiff, expecting to find the answers to his questions. At a given point, Patrick and his team mates are dissecting a corpse, they have to figure out the cause of death of the cadaver that has been assigned to their team. Patrick will make a discovery that will put his life seriously in danger.

It was about a year ago that I first heard about this novel and, immediately, I became interested in reading it. My expectation has not been disappointed at all. Belinda Bauer’s narrative style is unparalleled, and the plot is nicely structured. Everything seems real and I’ve found fascinating Patrick’s character. The first chapters may seem to be simple writing exercises but superbly worked out. The reader may question at an early stage if it all will make any sense. But as in a jigsaw, each individual piece has a role to play and, in this novel, every detail, no matter how small, has its significance. Contrary to what it may seem the scenes that take place in the dissecting room and in the special care unit, don’t turn out to be disgusting. Mainly because they’re written with good taste and  Bauer doesn’t delight in unpleasant details. More irritating is the behaviour of certain characters and their attitude towards those clearly disadvantaged. In short, a very original novel, intelligently written and which I’ve have very much enjoyed. An excellent read to start the year. Highly recommended. A writer which is very worth to be followed. 

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

Belinda Bauer has won the CWA Dagger in the Library in 2013. She grew up in England and South Africa and has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. Her script The Locker Room earned her the Carl Foreman/Bafta Award for Young British Screenwriters. With her first novel, Blacklands, Belinda won the CWA Gold Dagger in 2010. Her second and third novels, Darkside (see my review HERE) and Finders Keepers, were highly acclaimed. Rubbernecker is Belinda’s latest novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger in 2013. She lives in Wales and is published by Transworld.

Rubbernecker has been reviewed at Euro Crime (Michelle Peckham), Do you write under your own name (Martin), Crimepieces (Sarah), Reactions to reading (Bernadette), The view from the blue house (Rob), Reviewing the evidence (Linda Wilson), Crime Fiction Lover (Andre), among others.  

Belinda Bauer’s website

Transworld Publishers

The Random House Group

Belinda Bauer interview at Shots Crime & Thriller Ezine 

Belinda Bauer introduces her novel, Rubbernecker (You Tube)

Rubbernecker, de Belinda Bauer

Rubbernecker gira principalmente en torno a dos personajes. Uno de ellos es un hombre en estado de coma. Sin embargo, es capaz de recordar y observa lo que sucede a su alrededor. Su nombre, como el lector descubrirá más adelante, es Sam Galen. Sam ha sido víctima de un accidente de coche. Un día, es testigo de la muerte del paciente en coma que estaba justo a su lado. Sam, incapaz de comunicarse, se ha obsesionado con la idea de que él va a ser asesinado también. La historia de Sam se entremezcla con la de un joven llamado Patrick con síndrome de Asperger. Patrick está muy obsesionado con la muerte. Cuando era niño, fue testigo de la muerte de su padre atropellado por un coche que se dio a la fuga. Desde entonces está tratando de averiguar el significado de la muerte. Hoy se ha matriculado en un curso de anatomía en la Universidad de Cardiff, esperando encontrar las respuestas a sus preguntas. En un momento dado, Patrick y sus compañeros están diseccionando un cadáver, tienen que averiguar la causa de la muerte del cadáver que ha sido asignado a su equipo. Patrick hará un descubrimiento que pondrá su vida en serio peligro.

Fue hace casi un año ya que me enteré de la existencia de esta novela y, de inmediato, me interesé en leerla. Mi expectativa no se ha visto decepcionada en absoluto. El estilo narrativo de Belinda Bauer no tiene comparación y la trama está muy bien estructurada. Todo parece real y he encontrado fascinante el personaje de Patrick. Los primeros capítulos pueden parecer simples ejercicios de escritura, pero magníficamente elaborados. El lector puede preguntarse en una etapa inicial si todo tendrá sentido. Pero como en un rompecabezas, cada pieza tiene un papel que desempeñar y, en esta novela, cada detalle, por insignificante que parezca, tiene su importancia. Al contrario de lo que pueda parecer las escenas que tienen lugar en la sala de disección y en la unidad de cuidados especiales, no llegan a ser repulsivas. Principalmente porque están escritas con buen gusto y Bauer no se deleita en detalles desagradables. Más irritante es el comportamiento de ciertos personajes y su actitud hacia aquellos claramente en desventaja. En definitiva, una novela muy original, inteligentemente escrita y que he disfrutado mucho. Una excelente lectura para comenzar este año. Muy recomendable. Una escritora muy disgna de ser seguida.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se retrase en conseguir su copia de este libro)

Belinda Bauer fue la ganadora del CWA Dagger in the Library en el 2013. Se crió en Inglaterra y en Sudáfrica, y ha trabajado como periodista y guionista. Su guión The Locker Room le valió el Premio Carl Foreman/Bafta para jóvenes guionistas británicos. Con su primera novela, Blacklands, Belinda ganó el CWA Gold Dagger en el 2010. Su segunda y su tercera novela, Darkside (ver mi reseña AQUÍ) y Finders Keepers, fueron muy elogiadas. Rubbernecker es la última novela de Belinda Bauer y fue finalista del CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger en el 2013. Actualmente vive en Gales.

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13 thoughts on “Review: Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

  1. José Ignacio – I’m very glad you enjoyed this one as much as you did. It really is a compelling novel isn’t it? And I think Bauer took an important risk that paid off well in choosing Patrick’s character.

  2. While I’m always willing to have a civilised difference of opinion there’s nothing quite so enjoyable as the feeling of knowing you feel exactly the same way about a book as someone else and I definitely agree with you on this one. I like what you said about every piece of the jigsaw having its role to play – so true for this book – you’re never quite sure until the very end that she’s going to pull it all together but she does.

  3. Jose, great review. I’ve read and enjoyed Blacklands, but don’t have this one on my radar – more to do with having too many other options on the pile.

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