The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer tells the story of a shady journalist named Eve Singer who becomes obsessed with covering a series of brutal murders in the city of Exeter. As more bodies pile up, Eve has to decide how far she’s willing to go to get the scoop of a lifetime.
|Title||The Beautiful Dead|
|Publication Date||January 1, 2017|
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Overall Plot and Characters
The plot follows Eve as she desperately tries to get an exclusive on the murders, which the press has dubbed the work of the ‘Exeter Vampire’. Eve is an unlikeable character – selfish, manipulative, and willing to throw anyone under the bus for a good story. She lies, cheats, and backstabs in her pursuit of fame.
The book also focuses on the killers themselves. Without giving too much away, they have complex motivations for the horrific crimes they commit. The killers almost see themselves as artists creating morbid masterpieces out of the bodies of their victims. Their twisted psychology adds an extra creepy layer to the story.
As the body count rises, the police struggle to track down the murders. The detective leading the case, Darren Carter, is convinced the killings are the work of a pair of killers working together. But he has trouble convincing his superiors, who think he’s grasping at straws.
My Thoughts on the Plot and Characters
Overall, I found the plot to be engaging and fast-paced. The story pulled me in right from the start, and I blew through it quickly because I was so caught up in finding out what would happen next. However, the ending fell a little flat for me. I was hoping for more of a shocking twist or revelation about the killers and their motives.
As for the characters, Eve was fascinating despite her unlikable personality. I enjoyed hating her and watching her get more desperate and unhinged in her pursuit of fame. The killers were also interesting, but I wanted to understand them and their psychology a little more deeply. Some of the police characters, like Darren, could have been developed more too.
The Book’s Take on Journalism and Media
A big theme in the book is the ruthless nature of the media industry and the lengths journalists will go to get a scoop. Bauer paints most journalists, Eve included, as willing to throw ethics out the window if it means getting an exclusive or a good story. As a reader, you’re left thinking about sensationalism in the media and the harm it can cause.
I definitely think this is a valid criticism of tabloid or profit-driven journalism. It made me consider the responsibility that journalists have to pursue truth rather than headlines. However, I also felt the book portrayed all journalists as cutthroat social climbers like Eve, which seemed like an unfair generalization. Most journalists want to uncover truth and don’t act so unethically.
My Overall Thoughts
The Beautiful Dead was a gripping, fast-paced crime thriller with interesting, if disturbing, subject matter. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading! However, I was left wanting more from the ending and characters. The media commentary, while relevant, also felt somewhat one-note at times.
That said, I did enjoy reading this book. Bauer is talented at creating an ominous mood and building tension as the body count rises. The killers she imagines are genuinely scary creations. And a book so hard to put down deserves a lot of praise in my book! I’d recommend this to fans of crime fiction or serial killer stories who are looking for a dark, creepy thriller. Just don’t expect a cleanly wrapped up ending once you reach the last pages.
Overall, The Beautiful Dead was a memorable read despite a few flaws. I’ll be looking to check out more of Belinda Bauer’s books in the future. She knows how to grab a reader’s attention and hold it! This wasn’t a perfect novel, but if you like creepy page-turners with intriguing killers, it’s definitely worth picking up.