“Everyone lives three versions of themselves; a public life, a private life and a secret life.”
Detective Gabi Versado is investigating a series of murders in the city of Detroit, murders that are more gruesome and creative than anything she has seen in her career. She searches for the killer slongside a host of other characters searching for their desires—fame, meaning, love, a fresh start.
Broken Monsters is a tense and creepy combination of supernatural horror and crime thriller, populated with complex, flawed characters and unforgettable murder scenes. The beginning is like the opening to an episode of NBC’s Hannibal*—aka, with a memorable, incredibly disturbing, but artistically rendered murder tableau. Turning death into art, and tapping into the strange fascination and appeal death can have, is a major theme of the book—both with our artistically inclined murderer leaving behind beautiful and horrifying bodies, and through the plotline of journalist Jonno, who hopes to turn images of the dying, recession-hit Detroit into art.
Also, each book I read by Beukes seems to be getting progressively more disturbing. I can’t wait for what’s next!!
This hero stuff is usually a young person’s game. And, occasionally, a grizzled old veteran can get involved. It is a true rarity for someone to join the good fight for Fantasyland living in that in between ground.
This was a challenging topic: there are plenty of wise older mentors and brave young heroes, but apparently it really is quite rare to have someone in-between. Rare, but not impossible:
Strange is on the younger side, but Mr. Norrell is a stodgy, conservative, middle-aged man, comfortable with his station in life and more than a bit overzealous in hoarding information and defending his position as the only practical magician in England… until the appearance of Jonathan Strange gradually changes his view.
I am in the middle of reading crime thriller Broken Monsters, and there are a lot of point-of-view characters throughout the book—but one of my favourites, and the one who seems to be the closest thing to a main character, is Detective Gabriella Versado. She is raising a teenage daughter, doesn’t always understand social media and the internet, and is an experienced police officer—the very first scene of the book has her pulling a prank on a young rookie who is having trouble handling a murder scene.
Laurence (Temeraire series, Naomi Novik)
The older, more cautious, and very proper Captain Will Laurence ends up paired with the young firebrand of a dragon, Temeraire.
Like I said on my mother’s day post, Jessica of House Atreides is the real hero of the Dune books, having set all of the events in motion with her rebellious streak and determination. Her son’s rise to power can be attributed almost entirely to her planning and persistence.
The Bagginses (LOTR and The Hobbit, Tolkien)
One major complaint I have about the LOTR movies (which I really love, for the most part) is Frodo’s youthful, naive attitude, as opposed to the more mature and worldly Frodo of the books. Setting aside Elijah Wood’s wide-eyed, teenage face, Frodo was in fact 50 by the time he set out with the Fellowship of the Ring, by far the oldest of the four hobbits. And though I can’t remember his age exactly, I’m certain Bilbo was quite comfortably enjoying middle-aged life when Gandalf and the dwarves disrupted him in The Hobbit.
Who did I miss this week? Who are your favourite older heroes?
exploring women's voices in science fiction and fantasy