Beach of the Dead | Critical Book Review

Set against the backdrop of 1986, Cynthia J. Bogard’s “Beach of the Dead” weaves a narrative of justice, kindness from strangers, and the tangled web of reinvention. While the initial premise is arresting, the story’s momentum shifts towards a more introspective character study, as Elizabeth Reiser explores in this review.


A Murderous Prelude

The novel kicks off with a bang, thrusting protagonist Jane into a fugitive’s life after a grisly act against her graduate student advisor. Trapped with no refuge, she traverses from Texas to Mexico, unveiling a tale of transformation and self-discovery.


The Dance of Identities

In her journey, Jane—now Ana—encounters a diverse cast of characters, each offering a piece of solace in her quest for a new beginning. The friendships forged, especially with Alex, a closeted gay man, and the exploration of Zipolite, a bohemian haven, paint a vivid picture of Ana’s metamorphosis.


Love Amidst the Waves

As Ana embraces her new life, the narrative pivots towards the complexities of love and the challenges of reconciling the past. The characters, burdened with their unique struggles, provide a supportive backdrop for Ana’s redemption. Yet, the initial intensity of the murder plot gives way to a more nuanced exploration of interpersonal dynamics.


Zipolite as a Character

Bogard cleverly employs the location of Zipolite as a character in its own right. The idyllic beaches and communal living form the crux of the novel, accentuating its significance for both the hippie ethos and LGBTQ community. These elements become integral to the storyline, contributing depth to the narrative tapestry.


Stilted Vulnerability

Despite its strengths, the novel falters in moments of emotional vulnerability. The dialogue, at times, feels stilted, robbing the reader of a seamless connection with the characters. Additionally, while “Beach of the Dead” can stand alone, prior context from the series’ debut could enhance the reader’s experience, given the recurrence of characters.


A Compelling Unraveling

Though the pacing may lag in sections, “Beach of the Dead” emerges as a compelling exploration of regret, love, and redemption. The unique characters and the enchanting setting of Zipolite ensure that readers seeking a blend of introspection and escapism will find themselves engaged in this atmospheric tale.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Atmosphere PressHistorical Fiction318 pages9781639889808

Set against the backdrop of 1986, Cynthia J. Bogard’s “Beach of the Dead” weaves a narrative of justice, kindness from strangers, and the tangled web of reinvention. While the initial premise is arresting, the story’s momentum shifts towards a more introspective character study, as Elizabeth Reiser explores in this review. A Murderous Prelude The novel…