Broken Monsters: A Novel Review
“Everyone lives three versions of themselves; a public life, a private life and a secret life.”
The story follows a detective and her teenage daughter, a houseless man, a freelance journalist and a dream. These characters each have a connection with a Detroit serial killer, a person with a knack for fusing human bodies with any and all inhuman things.
Within the first few chapters, we know who the serial killer is. In fact, get to know this person very well as we are thrust into their mind and the horror their world unleashes.
Beukes uses the supernatural and reality to explore race, class, age, gender, privacy and the human connection. For 400+ pages we dive deep into the lives of these characters, learning how circumstance and desperation affects the choices they make. Why does Detective Versado’s daughter Layla knowingly start an online relationship with a possible predator? How far will journalist Jonno go to get a viral story and forget about his past? Who will this serial killer kill next?
“This is the way the world is now. Everything is public.”
One of the first things that got me hooked on Beukes’ writing is her prose. Whether in third or first person, each character she writes are richly unique and authentic voices. Additionally, if you’ve read her other novels Moxyland, Zoo City and the Shining Girls, you know how good she is at creating deeply disturbing characters and horrifying worlds. Broken Monsters continues this trend in a brand new way. With moments of comedic relief, it is a dark and violent story about a monster trying to remake the world. There is never a dull moment. Right when we think we can take a breather, there is a whole new disaster waiting on the next page.
Broken Monsters is not a mystery novel. Rather, it has mysteries that continue to twist and turn and reveal themselves in new ways. I’ve read it a few times and I know I will reread it several more. It is a story that is impossible for me to put down once I start. I’m excited to see what Beukes has in store for us next.(5 / 5)
Make sure to check out what else we are reading here.
What Have We Done: Alex Finlay Produces Another Hit
- Jenna: A stay at home mom with a secret assassin past
- Donnie: An alcoholic rock star
- Nico: An executive producer of a reality television show
They all have a past, but who is out to get them?
Jenna, Donnie, and Nico share a troubled past. They were all orphans who lived at Savior House — which is much less savior, much more terror. When their friend Benny, a famous judge, is murdered and the FBI comes looking, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico must race against the clock to figure out who is targeting them.
From the author of The Night Shift, which I reviewed here, I would expect nothing less than what Finlay has delivered. Finlay notoriously creates stories with palpable thrill and spine-tingling revelations.
I particularly enjoyed the character of Jenna. She is a reformed assassin living a normal life as a new stepmom. When she is called in to make a hit and her family is threatened, she goes badass mom on ’em. While I still thought Donnie and Nico as characters were engaging, it was nothing for what I felt for Jenna.
Also, major props to Finlay for creating a character that kills with a very unique weapon. Read it to find out more!(5 / 5)
“The Writing Retreat” Gone Bad: Julia Bartz’s Debut
Keeping it all in the family, Julia Bartz’s The Writing Retreat is the debut novel of the sister of Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here, which I reviewed here.
I was much more impressed with The Writing Retreat than I was We Were Never Here.
Five up and coming female writers under 30 are invited to a writing retreat hosted by the reclusive and acclaimed horror writer Rosa Vallo. Rosa reveals the details of the retreat: each writer must complete a full length novel from scratch over the next month. The best novel wins a multi-million dollar publishing deal with Rosa.
Suddenly, the retreat turns into a nightmare when one writer goes missing in the snowy terrain outside.
The novel hinges on friendships in turmoil and has a focus on LGBT+ representation as well as interpersonal female relationships. The novel explores the dark publishing world and the search for fame and the Great American Novel.
This novel is atmospheric and intellectual, page turning, and the English major’s required reading. I absorbed this novel and found Julia Bartz’s writing and conceptual chops to be leagues above her sister’s.
Ths novel releases on February 21, 2023 and it should be in your cart right now.(5 / 5)
Buy it here!
A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”
“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?” — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.
The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.
Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.
This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.
It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.(4 / 5)