Mysterious Book Report Broken MonstersBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Harper Collins, $26.00, 520 pages, ISBN 978-0-00-746459-3

The city of Detroit has long been an American icon; The Shining City, or Motor City as it’s been called, is now an emblem of broken dreams and unkept promises. Now it’s bankrupt and known colloquially as Murder City. It’s a place where taxes go unpaid, homes are abandoned, and buildings are razed by the city because they’re eyesores: neglected, decrepit, crime-ridden, looted and decayed . . . eventually torn down because they’ve become so hazardous to public health and safety.

It is against this bleak, dystopian backdrop that an ingenious, frightful and thoroughly entertaining novel by a South African author named Lauren Beukes is written . . . and it’s enthralling.

Broken Monsters, is the story of a failed artist named Clayton Broom, who’s trying to redeem himself—and the city of Detroit—through his ‘art,’ which he thinks will reanimate itself, Detroit and his career, if only people will pay attention to his installations . . . which he’s been putting in various public places.

Gabi Versado is an eight-year homicide veteran who always gets the bad guy, but she’s never seen anything like the murders taking place during the current winter. Bodies have been turning up grafted to parts of animals. The police are suppressing the news, trying to prevent a panic, while at the same time a failed actor-reporter-blogger from New York City is trying to reinvent himself by reporting on Detroit’s cultural renaissance through a series of art raves: underground, parties for the young, hip and economically challenged youths of the dying city. All the characters are in some way or another broken and all are looking for redemption. This is a complex, fun and entertaining read that will make you damned glad you’re not living in Detroit. Broken Monsters is a chilling novel that you’ll remember long after you’re done reading it.


John Dwaine McKenna