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Darkside
     

Darkside

3.1 6
by Belinda Bauer
 

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In bleak midwinter, the people of Shipcott are shocked by the murder of an elderly woman in her bed. As snow cuts off the village, local policeman Jonas Holly is torn between catching a brutal killer and protecting his vulnerable wife, Lucy.

When the inquiry is commandeered by an abrasive senior detective, Jonas finds himself derided by his colleagues and

Overview

In bleak midwinter, the people of Shipcott are shocked by the murder of an elderly woman in her bed. As snow cuts off the village, local policeman Jonas Holly is torn between catching a brutal killer and protecting his vulnerable wife, Lucy.

When the inquiry is commandeered by an abrasive senior detective, Jonas finds himself derided by his colleagues and ashamed to admit to Lucy that he’s been sidelined. It seems his first murder investigation may be over before it’s begun. But when he receives a series of increasingly sinister anonymous notes, Jonas is thrust back into the center of the case. Someone in the village is taunting him, blaming him for the tragedy. Someone thinks he’s not doing his job; someone seems to know every move he makes. And soon Jonas has to ask: Who’s hunting who?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bauer (Blacklands, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger) joins such contemporary masters of psychological suspense as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters with her twisted and tricky second novel, set in the Somerset village of Shipcott. When someone uses a pillow to suffocate Margaret Priddy, who was paralyzed below the neck after a riding accident three years earlier, Det. Chief Insp. John Marvel, the cynical head of the local CID, chews out an inexperienced police constable, Jonas Holly, for contaminating the crime scene. Some suspect a mercy killing, possibly by her son, a corrections officer. Apart from Marvel's scorn, Holly must contend with beloved wife Lucy's multiple sclerosis as well as the taunts of the killer, who leaves insulting notes that call his professional abilities into question. More deaths follow, and tension among the police ratchets up. The shattering conclusion pulls no punches and will leave many readers stunned, even as they realize how everything fits together. (May)
From the Publisher
“Given the shallow pool of prospective victims and suspects, it takes real skill to write a plausible whodunit about an undetected serial killer running amok in an English village. . . . Set against a landscape that would tax anyone’s sanity, Bauer’s grim tale deploys a morbid wit that’s positively wicked.”The New York Times Book Review

“Bauer joins such contemporary masters of psychological suspense as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters with her twisted and tricky second novel . . . The shattering conclusion pulls no punches and will leave many readers stunned, even as they realize how everything fits together.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Another riveting psychological thriller. . . . suffused with pitch-black atmosphere, Bauer’s novel keeps readers guessing until the deliciously unsettling conclusion. No sophomore slump here—fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters would do well to make room on their shelves for Bauer.”Library Journal (starred review)

"Like Minette Walters, Bauer excels at depicting the psychology behind the crimes, and she’s not afraid to take some bold risks with her plotline. Melding the classic horror setting of a small, rural town with an atmosphere of creeping dread, this is sure to appeal to both crime-fiction and horror fans."— Booklist

“Genteel and suspenseful . . . a most promising career.”Kirkus Reviews

"Probably the most shocking ending you’ll read this year. Belinda Bauer is the most disturbing new talent around."Val McDermid

“In her murky tale, Bauer plunges into the realm of the psyche, a brilliant twist . . . adding the final flourish to a nightmarish story where a young woman forfeits a bright future to the ravages of a particularly cruel disease, a murderer bides his time, and the angry diatribes of an investigator are met with shuttered windows and locked doors.”—CurledUp.com

“Belinda Bauer won the CWA Gold Dagger for her first crime novel, Blacklands, and she’s produced a barnstorming follow-up with Darkside . . . Bold, mordant compassionate, Darkside confirms Bauer’s reputation as a significant new talent.”The Sunday Times (UK)

"Tense and imaginative."Guardian (UK)

“Happily the dark horse is not a one-trick pony . . . [Darkside] is even more accomplished [than Blacklands]. . . . depicted with a wit and warmth that make the macabre bits seem all the more horrible.”The Daily Telegraph (London)

"Belinda Bauer’s Blacklands caused the hearts of hardened reviewers to flip a beat . . . Happily for the genre, Darkside shows she can do it again . . . Tension mounts with extraordinary yet credible narrative twists. As in her previous book, Bauer takes astonishing risks but – like a brilliant ski-jumper – arcs down to the perfect landing."Independent (UK)

"She’s a thriller queen . . . hailed as the woman most likely to lead the fightback against the Scandinavian crime-wave . . . It’s an extraordinary piece of writing . . . with a stunning denouement . . . The result is one of the most gripping whodunnits you’ll read in 2011."Sunday Times Culture Magazine (UK)

"Outstandingly good . . . An unusually gripping tale, with places and people vividly evoked and an unguessable . . . conclusion."Literary Review (UK)

"Second novel syndrome may be a recognised condition but it is not something that affects Belinda Bauer. I would press [Darkside] one on anyone who loves Kate Atkinson, Bauer really is that good . . . Another cracking crime novel."—Alice O'Keefe, The Bookseller (UK)

"[Darkside] will appeal to everyone who loves the classic British mystery . . . . An enthralling read."The Times (South Africa)

“A riveting psychological thriller which will have you guessing to the very end.”The Mercury (South Africa)

"Bauer perfectly captures the charm and potential creepiness of the rolling moors and deathly fogs and bogs."Argus Weekend (South Africa)

Library Journal
Bauer returns to the gloomy moors of England for another riveting psychological thriller (after her CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning Blacklands). A serial killer is brutally picking off the old and infirm in the tiny town of Shipcott, and village police officer Jonas Holly feels powerless to stop the violence. Enter DCI John Marvel, the bullying detective who takes over the investigation and delights in humiliating his subordinates. When the killer sends Jonas a contemptuous note mocking his police skills, the frazzled bobby doesn't even dare tell Lucy, his ailing wife, let alone the obnoxious Marvel. As the bodies pile up, so do the anonymous missives, until the increasingly isolated Jonas defies orders and doggedly pursues the chilling truth about the killer's identity. VERDICT Claustrophobic and suffused with pitch-black atmosphere, Bauer's novel keeps readers guessing until the deliciously unsettling conclusion. No sophomore slump here—fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters would do well to make room on their shelves for Bauer. [See Prepub Alert, 11/1/10.]—Annabel Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL
Marilyn Stasio
Set against a landscape that would tax anyone's sanity, Bauer's grim tale deploys a morbid wit that's positively wicked.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451612752
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Edition description:
Simon & Schuster
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
520,823
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.76(d)

Read an Excerpt

THE SOUNDS OF THE HOSPITAL CAME BACK TO LUCY MUFFLED AND from far away. She became aware of a big hand holding hers—tough, dry, and warm.

Jonas, she thought with a twist of guilt.

Stiffly she moved her head and opened her eyes, expecting to read worry, relief—even anger—in his eyes.

Instead, for one crazy moment, she found she had been sucked through a tear in time, and that she was married to a small boy wearing a look of such terror on his face that she flinched and clutched at his hand as if he were the one who was falling.

“Jonas!”

Her throat burned and the word came out as a harsh caw, but it aged him like a slap in the face and immediately his eyes filled with all those emotions she’d expected to see when she first looked up at him—even the anger.

Lucy didn’t care. She brimmed with tears. Jonas held her in his arms—a man again—and she overflowed into the crook of his elbow while he bent over her and said quiet, tender things into her hair.

“I didn’t mean it,” she sobbed, but she couldn’t even understand her own muffled words.

And anyway, she wasn’t certain they were true.

© 2011 Belinda Bauer

Meet the Author

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, an award that was presented to her by Sidney Poitier. She was a runner-up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition for “Mysterious Ways,” about a girl stranded on a desert island with 30,000 Bibles. Belinda now lives in Wales.

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Darkside 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
bookaholicNC More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful, interesting characters, good atmosphere in the little town.....and then the contrived ending ruined it all.
zzbethNJ More than 1 year ago
The ending of this book is so incredibly ridiculous I'm left wondering if the author and editors published it after a night of drinking. While still drunk. It's really a shame when a good writer goes so horribly wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Wintry Shipcott is cut off somewhat from the outside due to the blizzard conditions. The townsfolk are used to rough winters so think nothing of the snow falling. However, the residents become stunned and alarmed when something brutally murders an elderly woman in her bed. The village police officer Jonas Holly knows he is over his head but feels a sense of urgency to catch the murderer. At the same time he deals with caring for his ailing wife Lucy. Obnoxious Detective Chief Investigator John Marvel takes over the case bullying anyone who fails to obey his command. When the predator scorns Holly's skills, he stoically follows orders. However, as the body count mounts as do the letters of mockery, Holly decides to ignore the arrogant DCI to go it alone in order uncover the identity of the serial killer who he believes is a villager holding him responsible for a recent tragedy. The dark and grim atmospheric English Moors (think of the Hound of the Baskervilles) make for a great psychological police procedural. The cast enhances the feeling of destined doom confronting the village cop while the egomaniacal DCI ignores advice from someone he considers in the ooze beneath the law enforcement food chain. With a great stunning ending, readers will appreciate Belinda Bauer's whodunit (see Blacklands for her previous thriller). Harriet Klausner
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