Beukes, Lauren. Broken Monsters
Booklist Reviews 2014 October #1
*Starred Review* Following The Shining Girls (2013), Beukes returns with another genre-bender boasting sympathetic characters, meticulously rendered settings, an unflinchingly realistic crime scene, and a distinctly horror-fiction atmosphere. Detroit Homicide Detective Gabriella Versado is barely balancing her career and raising a teenage daughter when she's assigned the wickedly bizarre case of a boy whose body was mutilated in a grotesque sculpture: the upper half of the body fused with the hindquarters of a deer. As Versado begins due diligence by interviewing taxidermists and hunters, fame-chasing YouTube journalist Jonno hounds her for inside information on the case. Gold-hearted T. K., homeless in America's abandoned city, is haunted by the odd doorways suddenly chalked all over the city, including at Versado's crime scene. And Versado's daughter, Layla, alternatively naive and wise beyond her years, begins testing her bravery through flirtations with Detroit's dark side. As more bodies fused with animal parts appear, accompanied by the creepy chalk-door drawings, Gabi's team hunts a serial killer touched by incomprehensible evil that will lure her, Jonno, T. K., and Layla toward a masterful, surreal climax. Beukes avoids predictability by leading readers to doubt their interpretations of motives and events, blending detection and atmospheric horror to court both hard-boiled mystery and literary-horror fans. Think Peter Straub meets Karin Slaughter. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2014 April #2
In another fantasy-thriller meld from Arthur C. Clarke Award recipient Beukes, Detroit detective Gabriella Versado is unsettled by the discovery of a body that is half-boy and half-deer.[Page 55]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2014 September #2
Beukes (The Shining Girls) has fashioned Detroit into her own unique, dark dreamscape in this supernaturally charged thriller. In it, the torso of a young boy has been found fused to the hindquarters of a tiny deer, and Det. Gabriella Versado is under intense pressure to find the culprit. Gabi has no way of knowing that she's dealing with something more than human, and the case consumes her, even as it alienates her from her conflicted teenage daughter, Layla. Meanwhile, Jonno Haim is looking for the next big story, and the Detroit Monster may be his ticket to the spotlight. But the cost of Internet fame could be more than he's willing to pay, and Thomas Keene (aka TK), a homeless man, tries to protect his friends against a threat that seeks to transform the city to fit its own unearthly vision. VERDICT Detroit could easily be called the city of broken dreams, but in this highly atmospheric novel, Beukes sketches a metropolis full of hope and vigor, in spite of a monster roaming its streets. A powerful look at our fascination with social media and the transformative power of art and imagination round out this genre-defying chiller's captivating and terrifying narrative. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14; also highlighted in "Books for the Masses," Editors' BEA Picks, LJ 7/14, p. 31.]—Kristin Centorcelli, Denton, TX[Page 63]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2015 March #1
Against the decaying backdrop of present-day Detroit, a series of horrific crimes appear to be the work of a twisted serial killer. But layered onto the story is a cynical look at the future of journalism and a big dollop of the supernatural. Beukes is a hugely inventive author, never afraid to borrow from whatever genre gets the job done. (LJ 7/14)[Page 55]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2014 July #4
Set in present-day Detroit, Beukes's novel of suspense successfully combines horror, detection, and a depressing examination of urban decay. In a bizarre murder, an 11-year-old boy has been cut in two, his upper body grafted onto the lower half of a deer. The scar of a wound in the child's armpit allows Det. Gabriella Versado to identify him as Daveyton Lafonte, who survived a "stray bullet from a gang war" at age six. Versado is the prototypical good cop working in an impossible situation—a city so overwhelmed by crime that most of her job consists of handing out "empty warnings." As the killer continues to slaughter and mutilate in terrifying ways, the investigation draws in an immature and narcissistic reporter, Jonno Haim, who seeks exposure above all else. As she did in 2013's The Shining Girls, Beukes puts a fresh, imaginative spin on the trope of the serial killer. Five-city author tour. Agent: Oli Munson, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC