Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies, but this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half-boy, half-deer, somehow fused. The cops nickname him "Bambi," but as stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?Writing
If you're Detective Versado's over-achieving teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you are the disgraced journalist, Jonno, you do whatever it takes to investigate what may become the most heinous crime story in memory. If you're Thomas Keen, you'll do what you can to keep clean, keep your head down, and try to help the broken and possibly visionary artist obsessed with setting loose The Dream, tearing reality, assembling the city anew.
Well done, Lauren Beukes. I've been intrigued by her previous novel, Shining Girls, but this was the first one I had the chance to get my hands on. It's got the grittiness that I like in a police procedural, and the subplotting adds layers of human interest to what could have been just another serial killer story. It has tons of unexpected twists and I spent several days on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen, especially in the subplot regarding Layla. It definitely has a more literary feel to it than most other generic thrillers, but it still fit into the genre quite nicely.
As I mentioned above, it's completely gripping. And totally disturbing. I ate up every word and was scared to death for a large portion of the book. The only negative for me was that something (I won't say what) happens in the last fifty pages to really change the entire feel of the book. I still haven't decided if it changed in a good or bad way, but I'm leaning towards bad. It's the only reason I didn't give this one five stars or include it on my best of list. I just wasn't a fan of the sudden change in direction.
I immediately recommended this one to my friend Andrea at We Still Read who likes Karin Slaughter. It reminded me a lot of her work - very dark and gritty, but also human and with characters you want to root for. I would caution readers who don't appreciate bad language - this one is chock full of it. I would also caution readers who don't like blood and gore and who don't want to be disturbed by what they read. This one is pretty graphic, but in a way that I could totally appreciate. Definitely recommend it.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.