Broken Monsters

By Lauren Beukes

Source: Received from the publisher at BEA

Series: n/a

Received from the publisher at BEA, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Publication Date: September 16, 2014

Published by Mulholland Books

My Rating: three-half-stars

Broken Monsters

Cover image and summary from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Beukes returns with her next smash crossover thriller.
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. The cops nickname him “Bambi,” but 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 over-achieving teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you are the disgraced journalist, Jonno, you do whatever it takes to investigate what may become the most heinous crime story in memory. If you’re Thomas Keen, you’ll do what you can to keep clean, keep your head down, and try to help the broken and possibly visionary artist obsessed with setting loose The Dream, tearing reality, assembling the city anew.

If Lauren Beukes’ internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her BROKEN MONSTERS is the genre-redefining thriller about the horror of our city’s future.

I picked this book up at BEA because I was drawn to the cover. The colours caught my eye, and after I read the synopsis on the back, I got really excited to read Broken Monsters. I love reading thrillers, and this one sounded just strange enough to stand apart from the crowd.

I think this is one of two adult books I picked up at BEA (the other being Rooms by Lauren Oliver), and when I started reading this book at the end of July, I was definitely in the mood for an adult twisty murder mystery.

The city of Detroit is an interesting setting. At times, it felt like another character. The run-down, dilapidated buildings were a stark backdrop to the violence taking place in Beukes’ story, and the abandoned feeling of the city made me feel that all of the characters were constantly vulnerable.

The mystery of the killer’s identity wasn’t a mystery for long, which was refreshing. I hoped this meant that the reader would get some insight into the ‘why’ behind it all, but I was disappointed and felt that this wasn’t the case, for me.

However, the reader does get to see how other people in the city respond to the bizarre, mysterious bodies that begin to appear: Detective Gabriella Versado, assigned to take lead on the case; her daughter Layla, who is caught up in trouble of her own; T.K., homeless and working to help others while trying to stay safe; and Jonno, looking for a fresh start, along with a big story. Truthfully, I really liked each of these characters, excpet for Jonno (but he was certainly interesting!).

I really enjoyed the way these characters’ stories came together, and I devoured the second half of this book – it had me on the edge of my seat! And the story of the murders and their perpetrator became more and more strange and surreal, in a way that I really enjoyed, which left me wishing that things had been explored further. The more bizarre elements of the story were so intriguing, which is what made it frustrating for me that I was left wanting more.

However, this was a very interesting, engrossing read, and one that I definitely recommend if you’re looking for a thought-provoking thriller that is certainly not run of the mill.

I’ve just purchased a copy of The Shining Girls, an earlier book of Beukes’, and after reading Broken Monsters, I’m really looking forward to reading that one too!

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