Finders Keepers by Belinda Bauer

Finders Keepers by Belinda Bauer

The eight-year-old boy had vanished from the car and – as if by slick, sick magic – had been replaced by a note on the steering wheel . . . ‘You don’t love him’…

At the height of summer a dark shadow falls across Exmoor. Children are being stolen from cars. Each disappearance is marked only by a terse note – a brutal accusation. There are no explanations, no ransom demands… and no hope.

Policeman Jonas Holly faces a precarious journey into the warped mind of the kidnapper if he’s to stand any chance of catching him. But – still reeling from a personal tragedy – is Jonas really up to the task?

Because there’s at least one person on Exmoor who thinks that, when it comes to being the first line of defence, Jonas Holly may be the last man to trust…

There’s nothing like starting a New Year with a positive outlook on life but I thought I’d begin with a warning – If you’re ever offered a job or holiday let in Shipcott my advice would be not to take it! Although it may sound like an idyllic location in Exmoor I’m positive Miss Marple would have her work cut out for her, Poirot too, in fact she’d probably have to call in reinforcements to make sense of the kidnappings and murders found in abundance in the small village. No one is safe, believe you me!

Finders Keepers represents the third title from Belinda Bauer and although a standalone title – as they all are – you’ll certainly take a lot more from the book if you read them in order, I’m glad I did. Blacklands – the first in the Shipcott series – introduces us to the moor, the Lamb family, and of course the gruesome murders. Bauer swiftly moves on to Darkside and although – for me at least – not as powerful as her debut CWA winning Dagger title it’s a tremendously dark read and well worth picking up a copy, it also affords continuity. A year or so later and we return to Exmoor with Finders Keepers and for me it marks a significant change of gear. The book is more grown up, like her characters, Bauer has clearly found her feet with this one and there’s an underlying confidence that I’m delighted to say is back – and then some!

All three books are well-structured and intelligently crafted, Finders Keepers is without question the best of the three with a prose that’s not only fluid but definitely keeps you turning the page at a rapid pace until you reach a shocking and unexpected dénouement. There are a number of surprises in store of course and the ending isn’t the only shock you’ll encounter. One event had a profound effect on me, so much so I put the book down and my only thought was ‘wow’. The narrative is fairly gritty and edgy throughout but this first surprise – which incidentally stayed with me long after I finished the book – was handled with an unexpected sensitivity that it took my breath away, unfortunately I can’t say much more than that for fear of spoilers.

Finders Keepers is available in Hardback & Kindle Format.

Character development is impressive to say the least and I really felt as if Steven Lamb came alive in this book. He has clearly aged since we last saw him and in Finders Keepers he embarks on his first teenage romance, his first kiss, his first grope, his first love. The relationship between him and horse loving Em is a bright spot for me and having read the two previous titles I feel as if he’s grown up before my very eyes into a young man with a purpose and direction in life. The fledgling relationship allows the reader to see a different side to Steven adding depth to an already endearing character.

Although Jonas Holly returns as the local bobby he’s still recovering from the psychological scarring he suffered in Darkside. Even though he is cleared to return to work Jonas is struggling to make it from one day to the next and when he gets caught up in the child kidnapping case it pushes him further than he’s ever been pushed, both mentally and physically. Another wonderful character, Bauer continues to add more depth and complexity to the policeman as he strives to make sense of his past and future.

Finders Keepers is a magnificent addition to the Shipcott family and I for one can’t wait to see where she goes from here. Belinda Bauer – as an author – has come of age with this title, very much like Steven Lamb. We hear you Belinda; your voice is coming through loud and clear. Intense and wonderfully taut, Finders Keepers is a must read for 2012 and although far too early to mention best of the year this early in January this is one title that will be incredibly hard to beat. I eagerly await the fourth title, but this is without hesitation a gripping way to begin the New Year.

Published by Bantam Press, Finders Keepers is available in Hardback & Kindle Format.

400 Pages — ISBN-10: 0593066901 — ISBN-13: 978-0593066904

Previous Belinda Bauer reviews

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1 Response » to “Finders Keepers by Belinda Bauer – Book Review”

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    Looking forward to reading this one! :)

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