“Slicing through every social norm, evading capture with superhuman ease, and preying on the small, the vulnerable, and the trusting, Avery had swept down like the angel of death and pulled a pin out of his family. Then he hadn’t even stuck around to watch it explode.”
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.
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 a mystery/ crime thriller, Blacklands was definitely one of those books that has you wondering what’s going to happen next, while not noticing the slow building, anxiety inducing stress that has crept into your mind, because deep down you do know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s delicious.
What I enjoyed most about the book was the fascinating narrative. Points of view switch between Steven, Arnold Avery, and Stephen’s mother, although the latter is brief. SO, we’ll just focus on Steven and Arnold.
This is a beautifully done ‘cat-and-mouse’ game written from the perspective of the intellectual mind. That is, without much dialogue happening, the narrative is almost strictly written from the perspective of the conscious and subconscious mind. Each is trying to figure the other out, while maintaining the illusion that the game isn’t about ultimately getting what one wants from the other in the end. And the game can have deadly consequences for each.
Some may find that the story is a bit slow, but I think that’s where you’ll discover the whole point of the book. This book is NOT about what happens at the end, because the end can go one of two ways. No, this book is 100 percent about the chase, and the study of each individual as they move their pieces in a game of chess.
I would highly recommend this to any fans of the mystery/thriller genre. It’s different, and it’s absolutely a fascinating story. You can find the Goodreads page here.
Thanks for reading! What’s your favorite genre to read?