Blacklands by Belinda Bauer, a first novel (crime fiction) which had some positive reviews. As the year went on, Blacklands went on to accumulate considerable critical acclaim and was awarded the Golden Dagger for the best crime novel of the year. Blacklands’ success was based on strong characterization and an unusual plot angle. I didn’t find it as strong as most reviewers, but it was certainly a worthwhile read and signed first editions currently retail at around £50 from dealers. Bauer’s second novel (Darkside) has just been published, and to follow the success of Blacklands was always going to be a challenge. However, the first reviews are again very positive. Darkside is set in the same village in Exmoor, with some minor characters reappearing, but a mainly new cast. It is a simultaneous paperback and hardcover release – I am not sure of print numbers but a signed hardcover is most likely to hold or gain in value.
“Jonas had always felt the local police held him in warm regard. Now a small dagger of ice had pierced that warmth and everything had changed in an instant.
Shipcott in bleak midwinter: 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 entered, and 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 blames him for the tragedy. Someone seems to know every move he makes. Someone thinks he’s not doing hisjob. And when the killer claims another vulnerable victim, these taunts turn into sinister threats.
Blinded by rising paranoia, relentless snow and fear for his own invalid wife, Jonas strikes out alone on a mystifying hunt. But the threats don't stop - and neither do the murders . . .”