Belinda Bauer

The Beautiful Dead

"Bauer is a true artist of British crime fiction."


Eve Singer needs death. With her career as a TV crime reporter flagging and increasing pressures at home, she will do anything to satisfy her ghoulish audience. Her career is built in the bones of the dead; her one aim to secure that perfect shot of the body bag. Luckily for Eve, there is a serial killer at work in London.

The killer needs death too. He sees beauty in death and revels in watching his victims take their final breath. For the killer, the line between artist and executioner is irrevocably blurred. He even advertises his macabre public performances, inviting the public to see his 'show'.

When he contacts Eve and offers her unprecedented access to his plans, she welcomes the chance to be first with the news from every gory scene. Until she realises that the killer has two obsessions. One is public murder, and the other is her.

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Belinda Bauer is a superior psychological thriller writer. One of her many talents is her deftness for detail in every character, even the minor ones who only appear for a page or two. You feel like you know them, almost on a personal level. These aren't just characters in a book, these could be people you know, and that's what makes Bauer's novels a treat to read. Our protagonist in 'The Beautiful Dead' is Eve Singer, a crime reporter who is targeted by a highly disturbing killer. Such is the price of fame in the 21st century that a reporter on television is at the mercy of a stalker who takes their fascination to the next level. The crime scenes are gruesomely detailed but in contrast with the bittersweet scenes between Eve and her rapidly ailing father and both elements stand out for what they are - the ugly end of life. Duncan Singer is in the final stages of dementia and Eve is sacrificing a great deal to take care of him. She loves him but is heartbroken by the thought of watching him fade away. I would have liked to have known more about the killer. The murders are made out to be art and impressive. I think this angle could have been covered more. It would have made for a more chilling killer had we seen their design created. 'The Beautiful Dead' is a gripping story with great pace and characterisation. Bauer is a true artist of British crime fiction.

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