broken monsters


I give this book 4.4 stars


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 review – What I liked about this book

You start reading getting into the crime thriller then POW; thats different!  The whole novel goes sideways into a new genre.  Oh my, how creepy is this I thought as I was reading, and then I wasn’t sure if I was interpreting what I was reading in the right way, had this story just turned from crime thriller to supernatural horror?    This book is unlike any crime thriller you will have read before (unless you have read Lauren Beukes other books of course).

Beukes writes from each characters point of view, and does so remarkably convincingly that it felt like I was getting to know each one personally.  Every person made me feel differently with their individual personalities showing in their vocabulary.  Layla speaking was so teenager, Jonno such an irritation, and best of all Clay made me feel confused about who he was – exactly how he was portrayed.  Superb!

Beukes uses the language to give the sense of the character, so Clay who appears crazy his lines are confused which you feel in your head.  She creates the word ‘abandominium’  when talking about derelict buildings that with new residents, what a great word!

I enjoyed the humour, the suspense, the horror and macabre.  There are some beautiful lines that sums up a moment in a few carefully chosen words, in fact many throughout which makes this book even more pleasurable to read.  One in particular which is;

When he finished sculpting it, he struck it and cried out, “Now speak”.  He expected his art to live.  But it didn’t. How could it?”  He was on the point of tears again.

Another line I love because it gives a real sense of something dark is:

The car doors slammed, but they left the house open for the dusk to go creeping in-along with any shameless opportunists who happened to be hanging around.

One line that really resonated with me personally is:

Maybe this is the thing about getting old-nothing is new anymore

This is a book where reality and dreams have no definition, where a person’s reality is lost in dreams.  We know who the killer is but this is not the suspense, it is what he will do next and if he can be caught before his crazy head acts on his dreams.  We already know it will be dark and the madness fascinates us because there is no sense to it, something we cannot ‘get’.

It is very apparent that all of the details throughout are well researched by Beukes which enhances her reputation as a great writer.

This is a fast paced exciting book, that will have you gripped till the end.  I did get confused at one point when I was unsure about what I was reading about a character, but I think this was my own confusion and not the fault of the novel.

Why didn’t I give this book 5 stars?    Towards the end of the book,  the change of genre left me confused and questioning my own understanding of the story.  I felt I would have liked more of an idea that it was heading towards supernatural/horror.

I would recommend this as a creepy, dark great read.


  • ISBN:  9780316216821
  • Edition Hardcover 448 pages
  • Published: 16 September 2014
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • Available from Amazon, Waterstones, Kobp, and good book stores