Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yup. Five stars.
Actually, by the half-way mark I was simply enjoying the novel for how much depth and detail all the characters got. The mystery and the murder and the mayhem hadn't even really begun yet. I just got to revel in the characterizations. I didn't mind that there were a handful of them, from the cop, her daughter, the killer, the blogger, to the heroic ex-addict ex-murderer ex-slumlord.
True, at some points I wanted the story to go ahead and commence, but by the point where I was actually feeling my heart beat and my juices flowing, I just didn't care any more about wanting things to start. I was already invested in the characters in a way that reminded me fondly of the best SK. You know, the complicated and flawed and vividly drawn peeps that take over an entire novel, leaving an actual plot to stew simply in the background and you don't even care. That's where I was.
It was turning out to be a very decent thriller. I even got some meta moments when Clayton talked about meaning in art and the depth and the impossibility of creating anything new. It's all just rearranged ideas. I get ya, you crazy bastard. Or was that Ms. Beukes speaking through him? Ah, well, it doesn't matter either way. I could see the desire to make something real war against making a commercially successful thriller, and I know she isn't cynical. She's trying to push it through despite all the pressures. I loved that.
But then something very odd happened. Things got trippy at the climax. I started giggling and wondering why so much of the dreaming happened to be so regular and similar across the characters who converged. I had a Koontz moment. It was awesome.
And then it got paranormal on my ass. What a damn surprise! A good thriller just became an excellent horror! That's when my stars aligned and pushed out a five. :)
I'm a horror geek. But don't let that fool you. This was a damn fine novel even without my bias. I'm a fanboy. :)
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