ELLE (Canada) - - Radar -

Who killed a boy and then glued his torso onto the hindquar­ters of a deer? That’s the cen­tral mys­tery in Lauren Beukes’ fourth novel, but the South African au­thor says it’s about so much more, like “how the cre­ative urge can fes­ter and, on the most ba­sic hu­man level, just want­ing to be seen” and (be­cause that’s not am­bi­tious enough) “the death of the Amer­i­can dream and its pos­si­ble res­ur­rec­tion.” Thanks to Beukes’ nim­ble plot­ting and vividly drawn char­ac­ters, the dark book isn’t heavy; it’s ac­tu­ally droll. More than just a po­lice pro­ce­dural, this is Beukes’ cel­e­bra­tion of mod­ern-day Detroit, a city that re­minds her of her na­tive Jo­han­nes­burg and whose si­mul­ta­ne­ous de­cay and hustling hope­ful­ness in­spired her end­lessly. “It’s strange to walk among the ru­ins of our civ­i­liza­tion, not the Acrop­o­lis or the pyra­mids.” Re­search­ing the book, she spent time in the Mo­tor City...and had a few dark ad­ven­tures of her own: “My driver was a lo­cal guy; he picked me up in a big black van that ac­tu­ally be­longs to his neigh­bours, who own a funeral home. I got driven around in a mor­tu­ary wagon that had a body in it 20 min­utes ear­lier!”

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