Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

Bad Monkeys My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really entertaining read, even though some of the ‘technology’ was eye-rollingly implausible. Cameras in the eyes of pictures everywhere? Books that can record what bits you read and how often? Come on.

But it’s fun anyway. Jane Charlotte is a good mystery narrator, constantly dropping in juicy tidbits of information that you can’t wait for her reveal more about later. She is an assassin for a secret organisation, but after killing someone she wasn’t authorised to, the normal authorities have been allowed to arrest and interrogate her. The narrative is divided into two parts – the discussions Jane is having with the prison psychiatrist in the present time, alternated with the story she is telling him about her life and ‘Bad Monkeys’ the assassination division of the secret organisation.

In addition to dropping tantalising hints about dirty secrets, Jane also lies to her psychiatrist and the reader quite often, resulting in plenty of twists along the way. The ending itself is a twist, both in the plot and in the twist conventions of mystery stories. It’s not a profound one, but I found it satisfying enough.


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