Finders Keepers - Belinda Bauer "No one in their right mind would choose to go on holiday to Exmoor after reading Belinda Bauer. Six children were buried on the moor in her award-winning debut novel, Blacklands. Eight vulnerable victims met their ends in its follow-up, Darkside. But the curse isn't over yet for the residents of Shipcott, the Somerset village where the author sets her thrillers: now their children are being stolen, taken from cars and replaced with a note: "You don't love her", or him, or them."

From one of my newest fav authors Finders Keepers is the third of the Exmoor based crime series, it can be read as a stand alone but please read the previous as the experience will be so much more rewarding.

Central to all the stories are the characters of Steven Lamb and Jonas Holly and they do require some background as to how their lives become intertwined which you get in the first two books.

Seventeen year old Steven has grown before this reader into a fine young man, decent and likeable, despite or in spite of his horrific experiences at the hands of the author Ms Bauer. In the previous books Steven has acted as bait for a serial child-killer and seen Jonas' wife Lucy die in circumstances which have haunted Steven since.

I love the pastoral crime noirness of the bleakness of the moors and the claustrophobic, gothic feel to the very unlucky town of Shipcott.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, every now and then humour breaks through Since the abductions garden shed thefts in the village soars (doubled in fact!) as the police concentrate on more important matters... "prompting one police control-room officer to sigh without irony, 'It's all gone Chicago out there'"

Finders Keepers is everything I want from a crime novel; brilliant characterisation, right down to the most fleeting appearances, taut stories and descriptions like the following:

Under a sky that was already pale Wedgwood, Exmoor had burst into life. Heather that had made the hills look scorched and black through the winter had magically revived and mottled them green. Grass that had been muddy just a month before had become like straw, while the yellow sprays of gorse and broom hid countless birds, betrayed only by their summer songs.
Foals tripped along behind sleek mares, and lambs that imagined themselves lost bleated plaintively – a sound that carried for miles on a still day. Buzzards and kestrels looked down on it all – poised to bring sudden death without disturbing the peace.