Blacklands was the second selection for the TV Book Club. I couldn’t decide whether to read it or not, but although the rest of the show was poor, the short discussion they had on the book actually persuaded me to check a copy out of the library.
Blacklands is set in Exmoor and centres on Steven, a twelve-year-old boy whose uncle was murdered 18 years ago. He is trying to find the body, so that his Grandmother can finally have some closure. After a fruitless search Steven decides to write to his uncle’s killer in the hope he will reveal the location of the body.
Blacklands is a very quick and easy read – I completed the whole book in one sitting, proof of how gripping I found it. Unfortunately I found the book too light for me and I was left feeling slightly disappointed.
Lots of interesting issues were introduced, including how a tragedy can continue affecting a family many years after its occurrence, but I felt that these issues were not investigated properly. The real heartbreak was skimmed over, producing a fast paced book, with no emotional depth.
Steven’s character was well drawn and I found the child’s perspective to be realistic and touching, but his letters to the serial killer went beyond reality. I struggled to believe that any correspondence between a murderer and child would be allowed and the cryptic replies were just too convenient.
I don’t think I’ll remember much about it in a few years time, but it entertained me for a few hours. Despite these criticisms it is a good page turner and is ideal for anyone who enjoys lighter crime novels.
Did you enjoy Blacklands?
Did you think the letters were realistic/would ever be allowed?