The Monster's Daughter (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Spanning a century, this gripping mystery tells two compelling story lines.  In current day Alet Berg is a Constable, demoted to a post in remote Unie.  This is farming country, the more horrific crimes generally happen in urban areas.  The community is shocked when a woman’s body is found on a remote farm “necklaced”, placed in a tire and burned.  The investigation will take Alet dangerous places, with links into the dark years in South Africa’s past.  A determined woman, she refuses to give up, even when the stakes are high.  A hundred years ago, during the Boer war, an evil English doctor conducted experiments on children in an English concentration camp.  His victims were brought to him by a Dutch turncoat.  His work is discovered and ended, but two of the children survive, Tessa and Benjamin.  The story lines move toward convergence culminating in a cataclysmic conclusion.  Pretorius paints a vivid picture of a hundred years of South African history, the brutality and corruption of the apartheid years, the Boer war, and the country’s challenges in current day.  A fascinating story.

— Deon Stonehouse


Somewhere on the South African veld, 1901: At the height of the Boer War, a doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. His work ends in chaos, but two children survive: a boy named Benjamin, and a girl named Tessa …

One hundred years later, a disgraced young police constable is reassigned to the sleepy South African town of Unie, where she makes a terrifying discovery: the body of a woman, burned beyond recognition.

The crime soon leads her into her country's violent past—a past that includes her father, a high-ranking police official under the apartheid regime, and the children left behind in that long ago concentration camp.

Michelle Pretorius’s epic debut weaves present and past together into a hugely suspenseful, masterfully plotted thriller that calls to mind Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls and Tana French’s The Secret Place. With an explosive conclusion, it marks the emergence of a thrilling new writer.

About the Author

MICHELLE PRETORIUS was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She has written for Bookslut, Word Riot, and the Copperfield Review, among other publications. She received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago and is currently a PhD student at Ohio University.

Praise For…

“An impressive and well-executed debut novel, toeing the line between mystery, suspense, and sf. Readers who enjoy...Stieg Larsson or Louise Penny will find this title a chilling read.”
Library Journal

“Michelle Pretorius is a funny, surprising and fearless writer. The Monster’s Daughter is at once a historical thriller that reckons seriously with South African politics, an imaginative piece of speculative fiction, and a stereotype-busting roller-coaster ride of a novel. I loved it.”
—Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife
Product Details
ISBN: 9781612196220
ISBN-10: 1612196225
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: July 11th, 2017
Pages: 464
Language: English