Blacklands; Belinda Bauer
Life is anything but normal for twelve year old Steven Lamb. Steven has an odd hobby, digging along England's Exmoor. Not only is Steven trying to stay out of the path of some bullies, but he also hopes that his digging will turn up the remains of his Uncle Billy, and thereby help his grandmother and his mother move on with their lives.
Some eighteen years earlier eleven year old Billy Peters disappeared. Everyone, except Billy's mother (Steven's "nan") believes he was a victim of pedophile and serial killer Arnold Avery who is now serving a life prison term. Steven's "nan" has kept vigil out the front windows waiting for her son's return. Steven's mom feels angry about the way her life changed after Billy's disappearance and and guilty as well.
In an effort to bring some peace to his family for the uncle he never even knew, Steven decides to correspond with the serial killer in prison by asking "where is W.P (Willam Billy Peters)". Arnold Avery decides to play along, sending Steven letters of his own with coded clues indicating where Steven should "dig". However, when Avery realizes that Steven is just a young boy, about the same age as Avery's victims, he begins to plot a way to connect with him.
MY THOUGHTS - A gripping, page turning debut thriller that should find most readers on the edge of their seats. This was one of those rare books that I was able to read non stop. This book is one that will be passed on to others in the family who I know will enjoy it as much as me. I'll be looking for future releases by this talented new author. RECOMMENDED - 4/5
This advance reader edition was sent to me for review by Simon and Schuster)