Bad Monkeys
Goodreads ratings
3.61 / 5

"Bad Monkeys" Summary

By Matt Ruff

fiction | 240 pages | Published in NaN

Jane Charlotte has been arrested for murder.She tells police that she is a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil; her division is called the Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons—"Bad Monkeys" for short.This confession earns Jane a trip to the jail's psychiatric wing, where a doctor attempts to determine whether she is lying, crazy—or playing a different game altogether. What follows is one of the most clever and gripping novels you'll ever read.


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A woman joins a secret organization called the "Bad Monkeys" to rid the world of evildoers, but things take a dark and twisted turn.

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff: A Mind-Bending Thriller

Brief Synopsis

In Matt Ruff's "Bad Monkeys," readers are taken on a mind-bending journey through the experiences of Jane Charlotte, a woman who claims to be part of a secret organization dedicated to eradicating evil. As she recounts her story to a psychiatrist from a Las Vegas jail cell, the lines between reality and delusion blur, leaving the reader to question the true nature of Jane's mission and the organization she claims to be a part of. Set in various locations across the United States, the novel weaves a complex narrative that explores the nature of good and evil, the human psyche, and the consequences of unchecked power.

Main Events

1Jane Charlotte is arrested and placed in a psychiatric ward
2Jane begins to recount her life story to her psychiatrist
3Jane describes her recruitment into the mysterious organization, "Bad Monkeys"
4Jane's first assignment involves eliminating a man who abuses his family
5Jane's encounters with Mr. Teacup, a high-ranking member of the organization
6The truth about Jane's past and her family is revealed
7Jane's mission takes her to different cities, targeting individuals she deems as "evil"
8The line between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred
9The shocking revelation about the true nature of the "Bad Monkeys" organization

Main Characters

Jane Charlotte

Jane is the enigmatic protagonist of "Bad Monkeys." She presents herself as a member of a secret organization committed to eliminating evil. Her sanity and the truth of her claims are called into question as she recounts her story to a psychiatrist.

Mr. Teacup

Mr. Teacup is a mysterious and influential figure within the "Bad Monkeys" organization. He plays a significant role in Jane's journey and the unfolding of the novel's events.

Dr. Vale

Dr. Vale is the psychiatrist who listens to Jane's story as she sits in a Las Vegas jail cell. He acts as a confidant and a sounding board for Jane's increasingly bizarre and disturbing revelations.

Themes and Insights

Reality vs. Delusion

The novel delves deeply into the theme of reality versus delusion, challenging the reader to discern the authenticity of Jane's claims and the existence of the "Bad Monkeys" organization. The narrative blurs the lines between what is real and what may be a product of Jane's imagination, leaving readers questioning the nature of truth.

Morality and Justice

Through Jane's mission to eradicate evil, "Bad Monkeys" explores the concepts of morality and justice. The novel prompts readers to consider the subjective nature of good and evil and the implications of individuals taking justice into their own hands.

Power and Control

The theme of power and control is prevalent as the novel unravels the inner workings of the secretive "Bad Monkeys" organization. The consequences of unchecked power and the manipulation of individuals by those in authority are explored, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.

Reader's Takeaway

"Bad Monkeys" is a captivating and thought-provoking thriller that challenges readers to question the nature of reality, morality, and power. The novel's intricate plot and enigmatic characters keep the reader engaged, while the exploration of complex themes provides ample food for thought. Matt Ruff's skillful storytelling and the unpredictable twists make "Bad Monkeys" a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers and mind-bending narratives.


"Bad Monkeys" by Matt Ruff is a masterful blend of psychological suspense, intricate storytelling, and thought-provoking themes. As readers accompany Jane Charlotte on her tumultuous journey, they are compelled to navigate the murky waters of reality and delusion, morality and justice, and the nature of power. With its compelling narrative and enigmatic characters, "Bad Monkeys" leaves a lasting impression and invites readers to ponder the complexities of the human mind and the elusive nature of truth.

Bad Monkeys FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Bad Monkeys'?

    Bad Monkeys is a science fiction thriller novel.

  2. Who is the author of 'Bad Monkeys'?

    The author of 'Bad Monkeys' is Matt Ruff.

  3. What is the main plot of 'Bad Monkeys'?

    The main plot of 'Bad Monkeys' revolves around a secret organization called 'Bad Monkeys' and the protagonist's involvement with them.

  4. Is 'Bad Monkeys' part of a series?

    No, 'Bad Monkeys' is a standalone novel and not part of a series.

  5. What are some themes explored in 'Bad Monkeys'?

    Themes explored in 'Bad Monkeys' include reality vs. perception, morality, and the nature of evil.