Review Blog

Apr 20 2020

Snap by Belinda Bauer

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Transworld Publishers, 2018. ISBN: 9781784160852.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Highly recommended for lovers of crime novels. Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2018), and Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Nominee for Shortlist (2019), Snap is a novel for one or two sittings. It is dark and engrossing with moments of humorous dialogue to lighten the story. It also has non stereotypic police officers and a 14 year old boy, Jack Bright, who is really the hero of the story. Years earlier Jack had been left in the car with his two sisters when it breaks down. His mother goes off to get help leaving him to look after his sisters. Then she doesn't come back, her body found in a ditch days later. Jack's father cannot cope and leaves the children alone, Jack once again in charge and having to support them all to keep away social welfare. He turns to theft to feed and clothe the family, trying to navigate a house full of newspapers that his sister Joy uses to make tunnels throughout the house, and a little 6 year old sister Merry who is precocious. Then there is pregnant Catherine who wakes up to an intruder in her house and a note that says: 'I could have killed you', and a knife that she hides in her underwear drawer. DCI John Marvel who has been banished to Taunton after failing a job in London, is not particularly interested in solving the burglaries committed by the Goldilocks burglar, but when he gets a whiff that a murder might be involved, becomes involved in trying to solve the cold case of Jack's mother's murder.
Bauer draws a poignant picture of Jack, a boy who breaks into the homes of happy families and lies in the beds of the children, trying to remember a happy time in his own life before his mother was murdered. Goldilocks is the nickname that he is given by the police and when he finds some evidence that might lead to his mother's killer, he is determined to get help even if it means that he will be arrested. The suspense around whether Catherine will be the next victim of the killer and whether Jack's attempts to keep his family safe will fail, keep the reader breathless until the stunning end to the story.
I will certainly be picking up more books by Belinda Bauer. This is a must for readers who enjoy mysteries and suspense.
Pat Pledger

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