There’s no safety in numbers…
Eve Singer needs death. With her career as a TV crime reporter flagging, she’ll do anything to satisfy her ghoulish audience.
The killer needs death too. He even advertises his macabre public performances, where he hopes to show the whole world the beauty of dying.
When he contacts Eve, she welcomes the chance to be first with the news from every gory scene. Until she realizes that the killer has two obsessions.
One is public murder.
And the other one is her . . .
Eve Singer works as a crime reporter for iWitness TV, a sensationalist crime show always on the lookout for more and more gory ways to beat the competition and increase ratings. Under constant pressure from her boss and knowing that she is only as good as her last report she has a network of informants amongst those who attend crime scenes as part of their daily business, such as ambulance staff. So that she can keep one step ahead of the game.
Her home life is no picnic either. She has had to return to the family home under the Heathrow flight path in order to care for her father who is suffering from dementia and most of her earnings are spent employing someone to look after him when she is at work.
So when Layla Martin is stabbed to death by a psychopathic killer in the foyer of an office block within yards of a busy shopping street, Eve rushes to the scene in order to get the ever important shots of the body and to try and be first to identify the victim and get her story. What she doesn’t know is that the killer is watching, and as he sees Eve report from the scene, he decides that she is worth watching.
When, unbeknownst to Eve, they have an encounter, Eve’s path is set and what follows is a game of cat and mouse that will see Eve drawn into a deadly game which only one of them can survive.
Belinda Bauer writes well and her description of Eve’s life paints a well-executed picture of a woman struggling with the morality of what she does for a living. What lets her down a bit though is the killer’s story. Clearly deranged, and likening himself to an artist in his crimes, his obsession is borne out of an operation he had when he was very young.
As he commits more crimes, each one in public, each one staged like an art exhibition, his obsession and connection with Eve grow stronger, but we never really learn more about him, and as a result he feels like a one dimensional character, which makes the connection less interesting than it might have been.
Eve, her home and personal life and interaction with her colleagues are all very well fleshed out, but the central story just lacks that special something that draws you into the mind of a psychopath and his deranged view of the world.
The Beautiful Dead is a good read, but could have been stronger.
The Beautiful Dead is published by Transworld Digital on 17 November 2016