Rubbernecker, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


*Winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award* 'Taking the psychological thriller into new territory' IndependentLife is strange for Patrick Fort - being a medical student with Asperger's Syndrome doesn't come without its challenges. And that's before he is faced with solving a possible murder. Because the body Patrick is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things. And now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery - while he dissects his own evidence...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780552779494

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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Patrick Fort suffers from Aspergers syndrome and he finds it difficult to communicate and interact with others. Patrick is a medical student and during the examination of a "body" he questions the cause of death and believes a foul act has been committed. This is a very clever book and the writing and humour (because it must be said that AS can be the cause of some very funny occurrences) are what set this crime story apart from so many others....A coma patient is locked in a world of silence and Patrick must discover and solve the mystery of his studies, and the eventual sudden death of the coma patient. To say much more would spoil the surprises that lie within this most unusual and excellent portrayal of AS under the guise of a first class crime story.

Review by

I loved this book , i thought it was a bit wierd to start with , but then it was excellent , about an autistic young man called Patrick who is studying anatomy so that he can find out the ,meaning of what happens when you die ., he cannot relate to people and doesnt have any friends , but what happens to him along the way and what he discovers and how it changes his life , bizzare but enthralling .

Review by

"Williams jerked a thumb at the cell door. 'Kid's got a severed head in his frig but he wants a bloody feather duster to do a bit of housework."Meet Patrick. He is a young man with Aspergers, he does not like to be touched, is very matter of fact, does not recognize most social clues, and has a vey matter of fact way of looking at the world. His mother wishes he were normal, but Patrick holds no hard feelings. So how does he become embroiled in a story and death that is not what it appears?A unique story and plot, at times humorous, at times sad. It was easy to fall in love with the character that is Patrick, but because I know how hard it would be to live with someone like this I also understand the mom's frustration as well. All in all I found this a very well done story, with a credible plot that kept me reading to the end. If you want to find out why Patrick had a severed head in his fridge, You will just have to read the book yourself.

Review by

Fantastic read. Great story and plot. Some nice twists too. Funny, dark dialogue that made you love the characters, especially Patrick.

Review by

Rubbernecker – person who cranes, strains or otherwise awkwardly turns their head and stares while passing the scene of something interesting (usually morbid in nature). - Urban DictionaryPatrick Fort, a teenager with Asperger’s, is in his first year of anatomy studies at Cardiff University. Unlike the other students in the course, Patrick is not studying medicine. His reason for taking the course is personal; his father was killed in a hit-and-run motor accident and Patrick is trying to find out what happened to him after he died. Since, thanks to his condition, he cannot grasp philosophical or religious explanations of what comes after death, he is seeking to find the answers in the physical. It turns out his condition makes him very good at his studies. He begins to believe that the corpse known only as Number 19 that he and his fellow students are dissecting was murdered and he becomes obsessed with solving the crime.Although Patrick is the main focus of the novel, there are several other storylines and narrators. Much of the story is set in a neurological ward and involves the coma patients and their caregivers. Patrick shares much of the narrative at the beginning of the novel with Sam Galen who is struggling to recover from his coma. Like Patrick, he suspects he has witnessed a murder but, due to his condition, is unable to tell others about his suspicions. There is also Tracy, a self-centred nurse whose lack of empathy and laziness may be endangering those in her care and who is determined to seduce the wealthy husband of one of the coma patients. Eventually, all of these disparate storylines are brought together to a satisfactory conclusion as Patrick searches for the answer to what really happened to Number 19.It is hard not to compare Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer with The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night by Mark Haddon. Certainly there are a lot of similarities including Patrick’s obsession with a crime and the fact that much of the story is told in his uninflected and detached voice. However, Rubbernecker is much darker, almost chilling at times especially in the petty and deliberate cruelties aimed at those in need of care by those who are supposed to be caring for them. Patrick is a very sympathetic character – at times his inability to connect with others or to interpret emotional cues adds humour but, oddly, it never seems to make him ridiculous. In fact, it makes the reader feel more connected with him. Bauer also makes his alcoholic mother’s inability to cope with his condition more sympathetic than damning despite some of her most egregious actions – she is a mother who wants desperately to love her son but can’t get past his illness. In some ways, Sam is, perhaps, the most sympathetic of all, a man who is finally coming out of a decade-long coma only to discover how much of his life has slipped past him and how much of his fate is now in the hands of others.Bauer’s language throughout is precise and crisp moving the novel along at a fast pace. The different settings throughout the novel especially the coma ward and the student dissection room are very interesting, at times even disturbing. Rubbernecker is one very enjoyable read, both engrossing and chilling, the kind that will keep you up at night reading and several nights after thinking about what you just read.

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