‘The Facts of Life and Death is Belinda Bauer’s latest novel. I only recently read Belinda Bauer’s book – ‘Rubbernecker’ and can’t decide which I preferred. Both books have a lot going for them. ‘Rubbernecker’ is mostly narrated by an 18 year old with Asperger’s while this book is mostly narrated by 10 year old Ruby Trick. Both books are incredibly good.
Ruby lives with her parents in the crumbling village of Limeburn in Devon. Limeburn is being attacked by the sea on one side and the forest on the other. Ruby fears both but thinks the forest will get them first. Daddy lost his job three years ago and hasn’t been able to get another. Mummy works but the money is barely enough. With Mummy being so serious, Ruby naturally gravitates towards Daddy. Tensions are building in the family and Ruby knows who she would choose if her parents divorced.
Then a serial killer starts to terrorise young women in the area. The killer makes the young women phone home so that the mothers are forced to watch while they are murdered.
Ruby’s father belongs to a group of cowboys who call themselves the Gunslingers. The Gunslingers mount a posse to keep women safe and find the killer. Ruby begs until her father lets her go with him on his nightly trawls.
As a 10 year old, Ruby sees a lot more than she realises. She already has most of the pieces of the puzzle before she starts to put them together. Meanwhile, the police are also starting to gather evidence against the killer.
I loved the 10 year old’s perspective of life presented in this book. One moment still a child, the next with wisdom beyond her years and with the young woman fighting to emerge.
The characters in this book were brilliant. Ruby, her parents, her teacher Ms Sharpe. Her friend Adam and the bully Ellie. The two main cops were excellent. At first I thought of Calvin as a lazy slob, but he surprised me (as well as himself). Kirsty King also came across well.
I loved this book and can’t wait to read more by Belinda Bauer. I’ve still got three oldies to read, but also look forward to her next book.
Book Published 2014