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Broken Monsters
Cover of Broken Monsters
Broken Monsters

"Scary as hell and hypnotic. I couldn't put it down...I'd grab it if I were you." —Stephen King

A criminal mastermind creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses in Lauren Beukes's new genre-bending novel of suspense.


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 together. 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 geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe—and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.


If Lauren Beukes's internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

"Scary as hell and hypnotic. I couldn't put it down...I'd grab it if I were you." —Stephen King

A criminal mastermind creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses in Lauren Beukes's new genre-bending novel of suspense.


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 together. 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 geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe—and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.


If Lauren Beukes's internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 28, 2014
    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.).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 22, 2014
    The multiple narrators of Buekes’s enthralling and totally creepy novel present a complex but ultimately satisfying listening experience. Detroit detective Gabriella Versado is investigating the murder of a young boy, whose torso was found fused to the bottom half of a deer. As more bizarre murders appear, Versado begins a dark, obsessive odyssey that will drag her, her colleagues, and her daughter to the very limits of their physical endurance and their sanity, as she chases one of the most horrifying killers in recent fiction. The five readers of this story do a sensational job of bringing this book to life, and their pacing and characterizations are spot on, offering more of a dramatic rendering than a straightforward reading. Their combined skills and talent help bring genuine chills and suspense to this genre-bending thriller, especially during the heart-stopping final minutes. A L, B/Mulholland hardcover.

  • AudioFile Magazine Five narrators present the investigation of a series of horrendous murders in Detroit. Detective Gabriella Versado tracks the predator at the same time that her daughter, Layla, a teen tech geek, inadvertently gets involved with the creepy online predator. When a victim with his torso glued to the hindquarters of a deer is found, things get even creepier. Using clipped, uninflected voices, the narrators recount the stalking and the murders. Crude language and street slang are interjected into the story as it jumps back and forth between characters. The narrators' performances enhance the slow unfurling of horror. M.B.K. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 1, 2014
    A genuinely unsettling-in all the best ways-blend of suspense and the supernatural makes this a serial-killer tale like you've never seen. Set in a crumbling contemporary Detroit, Beukes' fourth novel (The Shining Girls, 2013, etc.) seamlessly alternates between the points of view of a single mother homicide detective; her 15-year-old daughter; a wannabe journalist; a homeless man; and an artist with deep-seated psychological issues. At the scene of the crime, Detective Gabriella Versado can't remember the last time she's seen something so brutal: The top half of 11-year-old Daveyton Lafonte is fused with the hind legs of a fawn in a hideous display of human taxidermy. While it's obvious that the five storylines will eventually join together, Beukes never takes the easy route, letting each character develop organically. Versado's daughter, Layla, cautiously navigates high school in the digital age; homeless scavenger Thomas "TK" Keen warily patrols the streets; Detroit transplant Jonno Haim tries to make a name for himself by chronicling first the city's art scene and then the hunt for the killer dubbed the Detroit Monster; and sculptor Clayton Broom's creations begin to take on lives of their own. Versado's dogged pursuit of the killer, under the glare of the media spotlight, is as compelling a police procedural narrative as Broom's descent into madness and the horrors of his dream world are a truly terrifying horror story. Beukes gave us a time traveling serial killer in The Shining Girls, and the monsters in her latest tale, whether they're real or imagined, will keep you up all night.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2014
    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.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from October 1, 2014
    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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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