I went to The Book Lounge yesterday, a quaint little independent bookstore in Roeland Street, Cape Town (cnr Buitenkant) for Lauren Beukes’ launch of her latest novel Broken Monsters. Here is a synopsis from her website:

Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. She’s seen stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But she’s never seen anything like this.

Clayton Broom is a failed artist, and a broken man. Life destroyed his plans, so he’s found new dreams – of flesh and bone made disturbingly, beautifully real.

Detroit is the decaying corpse of the American Dream. Motor-city. Murder-city.  And home to a killer who wants to make you whole again…

The event started at 5.30pm. I arrived at around 5.45 and the place was packed tight like an elevator filled with office workers at 8am. I squeezed through the crowd and glimpsed Lauren in mid-conversation. We made eye contact and I looked the other way, feeling guilty that I didn’t have her book in my hands before introducing myself. I eventually made my way to the counter, registered my details on their system and then purchased my very first Lauren Beukes novel ‘hot off the press’.

I turned around and squeezed through the crowd again until I reached Lauren. She turned to look at me and smiled. I returned the smile and introduced myself, shaking hands with her in the process.

“Hi Lauren. Richard. I am a friend of Graham and Jacqui’s. We ‘chatted’ briefly via email last year in September when I started writing my first novel. You gave me the best advice.”

“Hi, Yes, I remember. What was it? To blah blah blah” (can’t quite remember what she said over the hubbub in the cramped space we occupied)

“You told me that whatever I do, I should finish the book first,” I said.

“Yes, that was good advice. And how’s it going?”

“Pretty well, actually. I’m at 90%. I also uploaded some chapters to Autonomy.”

“Oh, cool, that’s great.”

“Yes and I also uploaded my hook and pitch to”

“Sounds like you’re sorted! Now you need to get back to your writing,” she grinned.

“Haha. Yes, I know! Exactly! Juggling between editing my first few chapters and trying to finish isn’t easy. But I’m getting there. Almost done!”


“Thanks Lauren. Good to meet you… and well done!”

Mission accomplished. I pressed through the crowd and popped out into the street to a breath of fresh, breathable air once again.

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