Thursday, 4 September 2014

Review: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

**** 4 Stars

Lauren Beukes, made a name for herself as an author with The Shining Girls which was a Richard & Judy Autumn Read in 2013. I heard lots of good things about The Shining Girls but have never gotten around to reading it which is why I was really pleased to get my hands on an ARC of Broken Monsters.

The Blurb

In the city that’s become a symbol for the death of the American dream, a nightmare killer is unravelling reality. The new thriller from Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls.
Broken city, broken dreams
In Detroit, violent death – along with foreclosure and despair – is a regular occurrence. But the part-human, part-animal corpses that have started appearing are more disturbing than anything Detective Gabriella Versado has ever seen.
As Gabriella works the case, her teenage daughter Layla embarks on a secret crime-fighting project of her own – hunting down online paedophiles – but it all goes horribly wrong…
TK has learned how to make being homeless work for him and his friends, but something evil is threatening the fragile world he’s constructed on the streets…
Ambitious blogger Jonno is getting desperate. The big four-oh isn’t that far away, and he’s still struggling to make his mark. But then he stumbles across some unusual and macabre art, which might just be the break he needs to go viral…
Broken Monsters lays bare the decaying corpse of the American Dream, and asks what we’d be prepared to do for fifteen minutes of fame, especially in an online world.

My Thoughts

I started this book not knowing what to expect & I finished this book not knowing how on earth I was going to be able to write a review as the book is so different from anything else that I have ever read. I had read a lot of comments from other reviews say that they'd had trouble sleeping after reading the book etc but the book didn't have that effect on me but then everyone is different. Broken Monsters doesn't fit a genre it is a horror, fantasy, crime & thriller all rolled into one.

The book starts out with an extremely grisly and disturbing crime scene when the body of a young boy is found. However there is more to the crime scene than meets the eye. The book is a slow starter but it gradually begins to pull you in and holds you in it's grip until it's thrilling conclusion.

As the book progresses we are introduced to a lot of characters who all have their own back story. There is TK an ex-con, Gabi Versado a single parent detective, Layla, Gabi's teenage daughter, Cas, Layla's best friend who has a troubled past, Clayton Broom, an artist and a killer who is set on making his victims dreams come true and Jonno, a down on his luck journalist/blogger who is looking to become the next big thing. At the start having so many characters was a little confusing but they are all very integral to the plot and has the book moves on the storylines all begin to overlap.

The setting for the book is the city of Detroit and Beukes writes about a city touched by poverty, a city full of ruins in the form of neglected buildings. We see homeless people picking over what's left of people's belongings when their homes are repossessed. She also writes about a killer who is so emotionally disturbed that he is quickly becoming unhinged and losing himself to the monster within. There is a real quirkiness to this book with Beukes offering up a totally different type of serial killer and indeed a totally different kind of crime book.

At times the book is very unsettling and it has a very dark and disturbing feel to it but I loved it. It left me questioning - Do we all have an inner monster? Are we all just a little broken? And the fact it is set in Detroit and called Broken Monsters meant I couldn't get the Eminem/Rhianna song Monster out of my head. These lyrics make a good start at summing the book up.
I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed, Get along with the voices inside of my head.
 Broken Monsters, is full of lots of interesting and engaging characters. It has moments of sheer disbelief and moments that will leave you saying WTF? It is a truly wonderful and very different kind of read. I did almost give up with the book at the beginning because it was a little slow but don't let that put you off because once Beukes hits the accelerator then she takes you on one crazy ride. And I mean crazy.

Thanks to NetGalley & HarperCollins for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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