Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

‘Rubbernecker is the first novel that I’ve read by Belinda Bauer and it is the best book that I’ve read for a while. It is the winner of the 2014 Theakston Award and they have chosen another absolute winner.

The story is told from three main points of view.

Patrick is a young man suffering from Asperger’s which results in him being focused, obsessive, literal and not very well in tune with those around him. When he was 8 years old, his father was killed in a hit and run accident. Since then he has been obsessed with death and what happens when people die. He even went through a stage of collecting and studying roadkill (much to his mother’s horror) to try and determine the secret. Now at 18 years old he has enrolled in an anatomy course hoping that dissecting a human will give him the answers that he seeks.

Sam Gallen has been in a coma since being in a car accident. As he begins to emerge from his coma, he is aware of what is going on around him, but unable to communicate. When he witnesses the murder of another patient in the coma ward, he must bide his time until he can tell someone what he saw.

Tracy Evans is a nurse on the coma ward. She is incredibly unpleasant and her goal seems to be to get as much as possible while doing as little as possible. She has set her sights on the husband of one of the coma patients because she sees him as a meal ticket.

Patrick’s anatomy class is tasked with determining the cause of death of their cadavers. When Patrick starts to find some inconsistencies, he just can’t let it rest. He breaks college rules and social rules in his quest for the truth, landing himself in serious trouble.

Meanwhile, Patrick is also starting to make some discoveries closer to home. His new found (although slight) social skills lead him to explore parts of his past and his relationship with his mother.


This was a brilliant book, and a very unique perspective on solving a crime. Patrick was personable and loveable from the first page. Several of the other characters also came to life (if not always so endearing). One of my favourite parts of the book was when Patrick met Mrs Deal. I could have hoped for a different ending to the story, but that probably wouldn’t have been in Patrick’s nature.

I’m planning to read much more from Belinda Bauer in the future.


Book Published 2013


See a full list of books by Belinda Bauer

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