Belinda Bauer

The Facts of Life and Death

"..tautly-wound narratives in the same light as Barbara Vine and Minette Walters."


Women are being terrorised in a North Devon village. They are forced to strip and then call their mothers to say goodbye before they are murdered in cold blood.

Living with her parents in the dank beach community of Limeburn, ten-year-old Ruby Trick has her own fears. She is bullied at school and the threat of divorce hangs over her family.

Helping her Daddy to catch the killer might be the key to keeping him close. As long as the killer doesn't catch her first...

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Belinda Bauer's last novel, 'Rubbernecker', was my book of the year for 2013; she may very well have written my book of the year for 2014, too. This truly is a first rate psychological thriller. The tormented main character of Ruby Trick is a wonderful creation as she battles the onset of womanhood and the break-up of her parents' marriage. The scenes are expertly written from her point of view, giving a child's take on an all-too-common familial situation. The naivety of the ten-year-old Ruby is a refreshing choice of narrator and seeing the brutal crimes through her innocent eyes are disturbing and thought provoking and will leave you asking questions about how children view the world we live in. Yet her journey throughout the novel is a compelling one and Ruby is a reluctant heroine. All of Bauer's novels are remarkable and it is no exaggeration to say she writes dark and tautly-wound narratives in the same light as Barbara Vine and Minette Walters. Bauer is a natural storyteller. She has a wonderful gift to surprise the reader with her plot twists. There are moments of humour that will genuinely make you smile as the well-drawn natural characters face a disturbing and unnatural situation. Don't ignore what you may think is a throw-away scene as everything is necessary to a deliciously nail-biting finale.

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