Book Review: Broken Monsters

Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies, but this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half-boy, half-deer, somehow fused. The cops nickname him "Bambi," but as stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?

If you're Detective Versado's over-achieving teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you are the disgraced journalist, Jonno, you do whatever it takes to investigate what may become the most heinous crime story in memory. If you're Thomas Keen, you'll do what you can to keep clean, keep your head down, and try to help the broken and possibly visionary artist obsessed with setting loose The Dream, tearing reality, assembling the city anew."


Broken Monsters is genre-defying. It's a thriller, and at first it seems like a cop vs. serial killer story. But the narrative is told by several perspective: the serial killer (who seems insane), the cop, the cop's teenage daughter, the homeless guy with a true sense of honor, and the hack internet "journalist". And if that seems confusing, it's only that way for a few chapters. You start getting pulled into the subplots, and then they're suddenly deftly woven together. I didn't even see the seams.


But I was drawn in. Despite the gruesomeness, the sometimes-vulgar language and graphic content, and the smattering of characters that I wanted to beat about the head with a large spoon, I was completely hooked. And then...what seems like insanity becomes reality. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but this is the best example of 'urban paranormal' that I've ever read. And it was creepy as hell.


The audiobook was narrated, very well, by five different talented narrators, which I think helped dispel any confusion about whose perspective we were getting. For that reason, I'd recommend the audiobook over the printed book. But either way, this story is haunting, gritty, and visceral. 


I'm definitely #TeamTK, because he's awesome and felt incredibly tangible. I think there are thousands of TKs out there in every city, living on the street or close to, and it was nice to have a flawed but righteous character be the unexpected one. 


I'm also a bit #TeamLeila, even though her judgement is questionable (like any teenager's) and she's sometimes way too self-centered (again like a teenager). But what she goes through, what Cass goes through....ah, it makes my stomach twist just thinking about it. Even more so because we all know this is based in reality, and who doesn't remember that moment in their own life when they learned the hard way that fairness is a myth?


I'm definitely not #TeamJonno, but Beukes does such an amazing job of keeping "good" and "evil" all in shades of grey that it's easy to see how anyone could be. It's all a matter of perspective, I guess. 


I highly recommend this book for fans of thrillers, urban paranormal in a new and gripping way, ensemble casts, entropy, Detroit, getting creeped out, and compelling stories. 

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