Rubbernecker – Belinda Bauer

Patrick is fascinated with the why and the wherefore’s of everything. It has been his life’s work. When his father dies, Patrick wants to know why and how beyond what he has simply been told. What happens after the point of death. He becomes obsessed with death and when the opportunity to study anatomy for no other reason than to understand becomes available to him, he takes it.

But for Patrick it was never going to be easy, he has a form of Aspergers and can see the world only one way and takes what everyone says literally and precisely.  But it is his eagerness to find out the truth about his father, that leads him to stumble across a verdict of death he thinks is wrong on the body they are dissecting. All of a sudden he is embroiled in something quite dangerous and not watching from the sidelines, no longer a rubbernecker, now deeply involved.

Weaved through Patrick’s story is that of a coma patient, who is also a rubbernecker, but of a very different sort. He can see something has happened on the ward he is on but he has no way of being able to tell anyone. Only when his condition marginally improves does he suddenly try and communicate. Only one person is listening though and he does not want the coma patient to be heard. But then Patrick hears him, with unexpected results.

This book is dark and rather horrid in places with such a subtle hint of humour that you hardly realise it is there. I can confidently say that this is a Belinda Bauer novel and she has weaved together some wonderful characters. Patrick is very well written, as is the coma patient. Bauer somehow made his struggle with the condition very clear and it felt so claustrophobic to be reading the descriptions of the frustration of making yourself heard. I would say that thorough research has been done with this book, and that certainly comes across from page one right to the end. A good read that did not wander at any point and brought everything together, dealing with some rather unpleasant facts of life but with satisfying results.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel for review.

This is the fourth Belinda Bauer novel, and very different from her previous three. She manages the crime and thriller writing very well. It is as if she has been around for years. That must be a good sign. I have Darkside to read yet, but have read her debut novel Blacklands and Finders Keepers.

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