Man Booker Prize longlist 2018

Congratulations to Belinda Bauer whose book Snap has been longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

cover.jpg.rendition.460.707 (2)About the book: On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever. Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . .

About the author: Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa and now lives in Wales. She worked as a journalist and a screenwriter before finally writing a book to appease her nagging mother. With her debut, Blacklands, Belinda was awarded the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. She went on to win the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work in 2013. Her fourth novel Rubbernecker was voted 2014 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her books have been translated into 21 languages.

(Source: Penguin UK)

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.

Darkside by Belinda Bauer

Bantam Press, 2011. 368 pages. ISBN. 978-0-593-06296-8.

After her stunning debut, winner of the 2010 CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year, this is Belinda Bauer’s second novel. The action is set again in Shipcott, a small community, a few years after the events narrated in her first book. Steven Lamb, the boy who was the main character in Blacklands has only a secondary role here. The principal character in Darkside is local bobby Jonas Holly who is confronted with the suspicious death of a bedridden woman, paralyzed from her neck down. The evidence confirms his suspicion, but Holly, whose wife Lucy suffers from MS, is neglected by the crime squad who are called to investigate and he starts to receive a series of menacing notes accusing him for not doing his job. Holly needs to do something about that when he discovers a second body, another vulnerable victim, and tension grows. With all the roads blocked due to a heavy snowfall, people begin to suspect everyone; a murderer is loose, the threats don’t stop and neither do the murderers…

This is a beautifully written novel with well drawn characters; the result is a gripping thriller which I very much enjoyed. I don’t want to give away much of the plot, except that its ending was slightly below my expectations. Otherwise I would have given it full marks. Having said that there is no need to read Blacklands first but I’m going to read it anyhow while I’m waiting for her next book.

Darkside has been reviewed at Juniper’s Jungle, Milo’s Rambles and Euro Crime.

The Random House Group

Belinda Bauer website

I will count this book for the 2011 Global Reading Challenge ≠ 2 Europe (UK) and for the British Books Challenge 2011 ≠ 1, if I sign in at a later stage.

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011: B is for Bauer and for Belinda; Belinda Bauer.

It was quite a nice surprise for me to receive, as a birthday present from my daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren, Darkside by Belinda Bauer. It just happened that they did check my wish list, they ordered the book for me and it arrived last week. Almost in time, taking into account that it was only published a few days after my birthday. Therefore I could not have find a more appropriate author to cover letter B in the Crime Fiction Alphabet. B is for Bauer and for Belinda; Belinda Bauer. With my special thanks to my big little family.

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa. She has worked as a journalist and screenwriter, and her script The Locker Room earned her the Carl Foreman/Bafta Award for Young British Screenwriters. Darkside follows Belinda’s bestselling debut Blacklands, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for crime novel of the Year. She lives in Wales and is currently working on her next novel.

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery.

Only Steven’s Nan is not convinced her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them 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 cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer …

For additional information see Blacklands by Belinda Bauer, reviewed by Jane Jakeman at The Independent.

Synopsis: Shipcott in bleak mid-winter: a close knit community where no stranger goes unnoticed. So when an elderly woman is murdered in her bed, village policeman Jonas Holly is doubly shocked. How could someone have killed and left no trace?

Jonas finds himself sidelined as the investigation is snatched away from him by an abrasive senior detective. Is his first murder investigation over before it’s begun?

But this isn’t the end of it for Jonas, because someone in the village is taunting him, blaming him for the tragedy, and watching every move he makes…

For additional information see Darkside by Belinda Bauer, reviewed by Jane Jakeman at The Independent.

Currently reading Darkside, my review will be coming in due course, stay tuned.