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South African author's new thriller set in the streets of Detroit

Oct 28, 2014

Lauren Beukes
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Halloween week is a perfect time to find a story that truly sends that proverbial chill down your spine.

"Broken Monsters" by South African author Lauren Beukes tells such a story. It's crime, it's horror, it's a thriller, it's fantasy, and it is set in the streets of Detroit.

Lauren Beukes says she chose to set the story in Detroit, because the city has a lot in common with her hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. They are both troubled with crime, corruption, and segregation – yet there's something much more going on in the cities as well.

"It's the vibrancy, the life and the art. People do what they have to do to get by, and there's a very entrepreneurial and a 'can-do' spirit." 

With regard to the title "Broken Monsters," Beukes says we all have broken hearts in us or horrible life experiences somewhere along the way, but it's how we find a way to live with that that makes us who we are. But also it's the fact that there are monsters, and even the monsters are broken. 

"I try to bring a lot of sympathy for the killer, who's just a symptom of broken masculinity and faulted ambition. I really want to play with that and to look at what we are capable of, the good and the evil," says Beukes.

*Listen to our conversation with Lauren Beukes above.