Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

review by Maryom

 After eight years in Homicide with Detroit police department, detective Gabi Versado thought she'd seen every possible way to die - but the latest death still shocks her. Only the upper half of the young boy's body is there - below the waist it's been attached to the lower half of a deer! What kind of monster would do such a thing and why?
 While Gabi and her team try to track down the killer, others have their own concerns; her teenage daughter Layla and friend Cas are trawling the internet looking for paedophiles; journalist Jonno is trying to put grief and his life in New York behind him and make a new start in Detroit; TK is emptying the contents from abandoned homes and businesses, and helping out at the homeless shelter; and down on his luck artist Clayton Broom thinks he's found inspiration at last....

 Broken Monsters is the new thriller from Lauren Beukes, the author of The Shining Girls, and again she's mixing nail-biting thriller with a touch of the supernatural. I know this isn't quite everyone's taste - they prefer their crime, no matter how disturbing, to be set very firmly in the real  world - but I loved it. What matters to me is that the characters, and their motivations and desires, ring true, and they do here. And what an array of characters and story-lines! All of the sub-plots are up in the air at once, weaving in and out of each other, deftly juggled so none falls flat, and leading to a dramatic meeting of the ways.
 Detroit is almost a character is its own right; a fabulous setting - a contrast of derelict buildings and vibrant art scene with 'pop-up' installations and events in abandoned properties - absolutely the right place for a thriller of this kind.
It's a hard-hitting and disturbing novel which opens with a real stomach-churning moment but the writing style pulled me in and held me. If I could have read it cover to cover without a break, I would have!

Maryom's review - 5
Publisher - Harper Collins (Harper)
Genre - Adult crime thriller 

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