11 April, 2015


Title: Rubbernecker
Author: Belinda Bauer
Series: -
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Bantam Press
Source: Physical copy
Pages: 313

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PLOT SUMMARY: '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...

I came across this book while waiting at a train station. It was there, shiny, shivering, splendid. The first thing that pulled my eye was the cover, as you can see above, the contrast between the black background and the white bird makes an eye-catching effect. The second thing was the title, Rubbernecker, as English is not my first language I did not have an idea of what the term meant which, I must say, only increased my curiosity and desire to buy it. Now, it is important to remember that term.
  • Rubbernecker: noun [C]UK /ˈrʌbənɛkə/US  /ˈrəbərˌnekə/ ─ A person who rubbernecks, turns one's head to stare at something in a foolish manner.
When I read the plot summary I thought it would contain a nerdy and odd principal character, the kind of shy, bookish-type boys that are very popular in Young Adult literature lately, and a twisted plot of crimes and murders. However, nothing is exactly as it seems. 

THE WORLD: Just our normal world and life as we know it.

CHARACTERS: Rubbernecker starts with a quite shocking chapter as an introduction to Patrick and his life. Patrick is special, he doesn't see things the way normal people see things because he has Asperger's Syndrome. Due to his condition, Patrick has been struggling all his life when it comes to social interaction, which has been hard on his mother since Patrick's father died in a tragic accident where Patrick coined the term "Rubberneckers" to refer to the by-standers who stopped to look at the accident. Since the accident Patrick has been collecting dead things to unravel the mystery of death and now wants to study Anatomy at the University of Cardiff. There, he is able to perform a dissection on a (dead) patient along with three other students, a dissection which changes his life completely when he uncovers a crime. Patient 19 (as named in the book) didn't die of natural causes but was murdered.

PLUS: Sounds interesting, right? Well, Patrick was the major plus because he is a peculiar boy and things that for the readers may be obvious are not so clear to him which may become a problem as in your head you're screaming "come on Patrick! it's right in front of your nose!" On the other hand, Patrick proves to be a very smart character that surprises the reader with his logic-driven thoughts and conclusions. With the help of no one but himself he solves the puzzle step by step until the end of the book where he turns to his "friends" or better said friend, in singular, to help him figure out who the murderer was and the most important question to Patrick, why.

MINUS: For a book which emphasizes the 'why' so many times it turns out to be a bit disappointing, reason why I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. There is something missing, it has a great character, a decent plot, something special to it but ends up losing its spark as the end approaches.

OVERALL: 4 stars. Despite the minuses I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and/or likes mystery/crime books.