A Novel


In bleak midwinter, the people of Shipcott are shocked by the murder of an elderly woman in her bed. As snow cuts off the village, local policeman Jonas Holly is torn between catching a brutal killer and protecting his vulnerable wife, Lucy.

When the inquiry is commandeered by an abrasive senior detective, Jonas finds himself derided by his colleagues and ashamed to admit to Lucy that he’s been sidelined. It seems his first murder investigation may be over before it’s begun. But when he receives a series of increasingly sinister anonymous notes, Jonas is thrust back into the center of the case. Someone in the village is taunting him, blaming him for the tragedy. Someone thinks he’s not doing his job; someone seems to know every move he makes. And soon Jonas has to ask: Who’s hunting who?
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451612776 | 
  • May 2011
List Price $11.99 (price may vary by retailer)

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Darkside includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Belinda Bauer. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


A gripping novel of suspense, Darkside transports readers to a small English village where one police constable, Jonas Holly, is tasked with looking out for the welfare of the entire community. When a paralyzed woman is brutally murdered, and an outside police force led by an aggressive detective arrives in Shipcott, Jonas is plagued with internal doubts. The murders continue, and Jonas’s faith in his own abilities is severely strained. His only supporter is his wife, Lucy, who is victim to a disease that is laying waste to her body. When the town spirals into paranoia, Jonas must confront his own demons and the fears of the village, as he struggles to stop the violence and gain control over his life.  


1. Darkside is a dark, suspenseful novel with a tense atmosphere. Discuss some of the devices Bauer uses throughout the novel to increase the feeling of suspense for the reader and to gradually build up to the climactic scene.

2. The geo see more

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About the Author

Belinda Bauer
Johnny Ring

Belinda Bauer

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa. She has worked as a journalist and screenwriter, and her script The Locker Room earned her the Carl Foreman/Bafta Award for Young British Screenwriters, an award that was presented to her by Sidney Poitier. She was a runner-up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition for “Mysterious Ways,” about a girl stranded on a desert island with 30,000 Bibles. Belinda now lives in Wales. Her latest novel, Snap, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. 


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