A criminal mastermind creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses in Lauren Beukes's new genre-bending novel of suspense.
Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?
If you're Detective Versado's geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe - and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.
If Lauren Beukes's internationally best-selling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.
©2014 Lauren Beukes (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"Lauren Beukes has got an intriguing style of dealing with slightly surreal things in very real ways. I'm all over it." (Gillian Flynn, O: The Oprah Magazine)
"One of the scariest and best-written thrillers of the year" (Chicago Sun-Times
"Wildly inventive" (Entertainment Weekly)
Majority of the book is a very realistic crime thriller with believable and interesting characters. It does start a little slowly for my tastes.
The final act of the book is very tense and takes a fascinating turn. I'd compare it to Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods.
Rather than being a 'genre-redefining thriller", Broken Monsters is a combination of police procedural/serial killer thriller and supernatural horror tale. The problem is these elements are barely integrated so the story builds as one type of tale, ends as another and the climax ends up feeling distinctly at odds with what preceded it. Rather than being a surprising twist, it felt false.
To be fair, there are a few hints that the story could go in the direction it eventually does but the ideas aren't unified in a satisfying way and the novel left me disappointed.
On the plus side, it is an interesting, if ultimately not quite satisfying story and Lauren Beukes can write. The characterization is solid and the narration is superb.
This book is a prime example of why I avoid suspenseful thrillers. if this were a film, it would be the kind of movie that would make me throw popcorn and scream at the television. i was able to rrfrain from yelling at my samsung thing like "DON'T GO IN THERE!!!" or 'THAT IS THE KILLER!!!" The characters and their overlaps make for an exciting tale of horror with elements of fantasy. The unraveling of the story is done very well with elements of horrific violence and crime, beautiful moments of passion, and keen insight into some pretty amazing characters minds. GREAT read.
Beukes captures slices of the modern social media culture, the post industrial decay of urban America, the police procedural and the supernatural horror novel blended well by the differing narrators to very good effect.
The story builds nicely, swerving from police procedural to dark urban fantasy.. The Detroit setting is vivid. The social media angle is reasonably fresh, wedding cyberpunk to Lovecraft. Vocal performances are compelling.
The book is a while labyrinth of inter connected stories. The characters are strong and multi-dimensional. At one point I could not stop listening. Broken Monsters is great storytelling at its best.
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