Laura Miller gives a warm #BKBF welcome to “@laurenbeukes-rhymes-with-mucus” (at Brooklyn Borough Hall)
The title of David Shafer’s novel (Mulholland Books, $26) is the military radio phonetic spelling of that slang staple, WTF. That’s fitting, because this thriller is about a small group of disaffected 30-somethings who are out to prevent a shadowy international conspiracy to put the entire Internet behind a paywall that will make its creators even richer than they already are. Shafer, a journalist, creates some outstanding characters including Leila, a nonprofit do-gooder working in Myanmar, and Mark, a self-help guru in New York who’s got plenty to fix in himself. In Shafer’s hands, they’re as funny and as paranoid as can be, which makes this an entertaining and smart book.
Released yesterday, Broken Monsters, the new genre-bending thriller by Lauren Beukes. Both creepy and compelling, the novel is already receiving raves from NPR to The Guardian. In it, a Detroit police detective investigates the strange murder of a young boy, whose lower body has been replaced by the hind quarters of a deer. Her previous novel, The Shining Girls (a favorite among indie booksellers), was an intricately plotted tale about a time-travelling serial killer who stalks his victims, bright young women who burn with potential, across six decades. Both are available from Hachette Book Group. (And why wait 1-4 weeks to get your copy when you can stop by your favorite indie bookseller and get one today!)
Well HELLO Broken Monsters! What are you doing on the Today Show? Oh, you’re being recommended as this weekend’s must-have? Carry on!
Snapshots from Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes’s research photographs
‘It’s all right,’ he said, kneeling down, putting his hand on the animal’s warm neck. He could feel the life and strength of it under his palm. It panicked at his touch, kicking out, trying to get to its feet. But there was too much wreckage inside.
He felt like he was falling into its eyes. There were doors opening in the trees all around him, a door swinging open in his head.
Not yours, he thought. Nothing’s yours.
‘It’s all right,’ he said again, stroking the animal’s neck. It shivered at his touch, but it didn’t try to kick again.
‘I know how to do this.’
- Broken Monsters
#doors #doors #doorseverywhere
Snapshots from Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes’s Detroit research photographs
‘Detective?’ the uniform says. Because she’s just standing there staring down at the kid in the deep shadow of the tunnel, her hands jammed in the pockets of her jacket. She left her damn gloves in the car and her fingers are numb from the chill wind sneaking in off the river. Winter baring its teeth even though it’s only gone November. ‘Are you—’
‘Yeah, okay,’ she cuts him off, reading the name on his badge. ‘I’m thinking about the adhesive, Officer Jones.’ Because mere superglue wouldn’t do it. Holding the pieces together while the body was moved. This isn’t where the kid died. There’s not enough blood on the scene. And there’s no sign of his missing half.
Lauren is a force of nature.
For the second book, [I was] interested in Detroit, especially the “ruin porn” photographs we see coming out of the city. It’s incredible to have this decay in the middle of a powerful, wealthy country. But it’s also my secret way of writing about Johannesburg again, as I did in Zoo City—the cities have a lot in common. They look like blighted, terrible places from the outside, with boarded up buildings and crime and poverty and squatters—just brokenness. It becomes a symbol for everything that’s wrong with South Africa and I think people feel the same way about Detroit. But both Johannesburg and Detroit are places that people live and I wanted to get to the spark and fire underneath it all, and explore the ways that makes the place home.