Lauren Beukes is my favorite Dan Brown – and they have nothing in common.
Upon reviewing Broken Monsters, I have to admit that this is one of the few fiction books I’ve read and finished with a satisfied smile. Usually I avoid the subject because fiction books have such a common plot – detective books in general – that there hardly remains much of a surprise for an avid reader such as myself seeking something new and exciting.
Of course you have your strong-willed or incredibly intelligent protagonist and perhaps the serial killer is just as sly, coy, and dangerous as you’d expect. What more than seldom drives me away from enjoying fiction is the fact that there’s too much drama instead of plot development going on – who cares about character development when the story continually runs in a non-progressive loop?
As I understand it (and I may be speaking under correction if anyone disagrees), stories are supposed to entertain and make you think outside of your usual comfort zones instead of baiting you into a deeper lull of boring everyday issues about who got who pregnant and who’s parents are abusing or neglecting who etc.
Thank god Lauren Beukes had the same opinion when she wrote Broken Monsters. I’d love to compare her to a fiction writer I’ve read before but I don’t want to be pretentious or give you the impression I know everything about absolutely nothing.
Beukes embraces New York’s vibrant and often quirky artistic scenery with a combination of delusional insanity and the hard truth of reality. The reader is led to believe the shades between black and white blur a bit or even blend for a moment – until our deranged killer creates another gut-wrenching art piece for the amusement of his digital audience.
What this author also does is use the full influence social media has on our lives and uses it as a centerpiece for the encouragement of her villain’s dastardly deeds. Combine that with the thrill of adding another protagonist playing detective as she conducts cyber investigations in order to track down a pedophile and you have yourself a formula that’s sure to grab the attention of the SplatterGeist.
Beukes gives us a New York that’s all glitz and glam until bam, someone’s dead and everyone have their gazes suspiciously directed at the weird and eccentric artists eager to be discovered, though perhaps for the wrong reasons. From artists who sculpt with clay to those that reconstruct animal skeletons out of plaster, Broken Monsters goes all out to capture the essence of what we perceive to be art or aesthetic while those idealistic ideas are conflicted with the law and just how far we can really go by pushing the envelope to create a staggering masterpiece.