Rubbernecker - Belinda Bauer 'The dead can't speak to us,' Professor Madoc had said.
But that was a lie.

Sometimes, only an outsider can get to the truth.

Patrick has been on the outside all his life. Thoughtful, but different, infuriating even to his own mother, his life changes when he follows an obsession with death to study anatomy at university.

When he uncovers a crime that everybody else was too close to see, he proves finally that he has been right all along: nothing is exactly as it seems.

And that there have been many more lies closer to home...



Probably my book of the year...so far...


Patrick suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and after losing his father at an early age is obsessed with finding out the meaning of death, so he joins a anatomy course in at Cardiff University hospital.

His group of students have their own corpse (number 19) and dissect him over a number of weeks with the outcome being they establish the cause of death.

Meanwhile in the same hospital Sam is in the coma ward trapped in his own body somewhere between death and recovery. He is unable to 'emerge' but he can see and hear what is going on around him. He is looked after by a team of nurse who range from the compassionate to the contemptible. Then he observes something he shouldn't….

I enjoyed Bauer's previous Blacklands (loose) trilogy but Rubbernecker is something else and probably my book of the year...so far...
Plot is very clever, characters are fantastic (Patrick is so endearing, you just want to make things right for him) and I love Bauer’s economical writing, and there is not one word that doesn’t need to be there.

The author is a master at intertwining the macabre with laugh out loud moments of dark humour (I laughed a lot)

The dreadful coma nurse Tracy is a wonderfully written character:

“The coma ward was boring yet difficult. Like golf.”

“Sweet little thing says she still wants to marry him. Breaks your heart: She sighed and sounded sincere, so Tracy nodded in a way she hoped denoted that she, too, was a little bit heartbroken — even though she thought that if her (hypothetical) boyfriend were in a coma for more than a few weeks, she’d probably just cut her losses and move on, not stick around to watch him shit in his pants for the next fifty years.”


Absolutely superb, and the depiction of two people trapped inside their own bodies struggling to make themselves understood was sublime…