The Facts of Life and Death

Written by Belinda Bauer

Review written by Amy Myers

Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.

The Facts of Life and Death
Black Swan
RRP: £7.99
Released: January 15, 2015

Published last year in hardback, Belinda Bauer’s fifth novel is now available in paperback – and if you haven’t yet read it, do so now.

Her debut novel Blacklands won her a CWA gold dagger and her fourth novel Rubbernecker won the 2014 Theakstons Old Peculier Novel of the Year Award. The Facts of Life and Death is a first class successor from the pen of this masterly storyteller. It begins so apparently gently on the Devon coast, a tale told through the eyes of ten-year-old Ruby Trick, before the reader is pitchforked into the secret life of a crazed remorseless killer of young women.

Ruby has her own secret life. Overweight, bullied at school and in constant fear of where the animosity between her parents might lead, she is anxious to support her out of work father at all times – even when it means helping him track down the killer.

The story twists and turns, increasingly darkly, as the police case proceeds in the hands of DCI Kirsty King and her sidekick Detective Constable Calvin Bridge, whose strength lies in their very ordinariness. Their personal everyday problems, together with Ruby’s struggles at school and home, contrast starkly with the killer and his methods, which makes for compelling reading.

Besides her remarkable ability to build characters with painstaking detail, the author skilfully uses the Devon coast and the nearby forest to contribute both to the plot and to the atmosphere. As the novel progresses this and her deft hand at structuring the plot ensure that there’s no temptation to put the book down.  More please.

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