I’ve read several Lauren Beukes books over the last few years and I’ve loved each of them. This is definitely the darkest I’ve read of hers. Maybe also one of the darkest books I’ve ever read to be honest. I thought it was going to be more on the mystery side of genre fiction, but it turns out it was really more on the horror side. The thing about Beukes is that no matter what she’s writing about, it’s going to be good because she knows how to tell a story well and her writing is always excellent.
The story follows several characters: Gabriella Versado, the single mom working as a Detroit homicide detective; Jonno, the washed up journalist turned wannabe media star; Layla, Gabi’s teenage daughter and her mysterious friend; TK, a former convict who works with the homeless community; and Clayton, an aging artist who hasn’t yet made his mark on society. Despite switching frequently between all these viewpoints, Beukes writes each of these characters so well that they’re all fully formed. You truly feel like you know these people.
When a little black boy is found severed in half and glued to the bottom half of a deer, like the most disturbing version of a mythical creature to ever exist. Obviously, the Detroit PD want to get to the bottom of the murder as quickly and quietly as possible, but things don’t go exactly as planned.
Despite the dark nature of the book and a weird magical realism detour towards the end, I really enjoyed reading this book. Beukes has a way with words and these characters got under my skin in a good way, even though I really hated a couple of them. Would definitely recommend this one to readers who like dark crime/mystery novels. Serious trigger warnings for most of the things: animal cruelty, violence, murder, mentions of pedophilia… I think that’s it?