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The Shining Girls

The Shining Girls

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Lauren Beukes

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  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • Format: Paperback | 363 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 208mm x 30mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 14 January 2014
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0316216860
  • ISBN 13: 9780316216869
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 148,459

Product description

The girls who wouldn't die hunts the killer who shouldn't exist. The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own." Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future. Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times. At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives. Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . . "The Shining Girls" is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

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Author information

Lauren Beukes is a recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, finished runner-up to Lev Grossman for the John W Campbell Award, was shortlisted for a plethora of other awards and received rave reviews from around the world including "The New York Times "and "The Guardian." She lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her husband and her daughter.

Customer reviews

By Ryann Dannelly 30 Apr 2014 4

Quick Blurb:

“The girl who wouldn’t die hunts the killer who should’t exist.’”

Harper Curtis, a Depression-era drifter, stumbles upon a mysterious house that allows him to time-travel. But there’s a catch, he can only do so by murdering the “shining girls.” Kirby Mazrachi is the last girl on his list. She wasn’t supposed to survive Harper’s initial attack, but she did. He won’t make that mistake the second time around.

Part of the story follows Harper’s journey as he time-travels from the 1920s through the 1980s, murdering his “shining girls” to satisfy the needs of his bloodthirsty house. He’s the perfect killer, jumping into these “shining girls” lives, waiting for the opportune moment to strike, and vanishing into another time period after each murder.

The other part of the story follows Kirby who becomes thoroughly invested in finding her would-be killer and bringing him to justice. By joining the Chicago Sun-Times and working with Dan Velasquez, the ex-homicide reported who covered her case, the two of them begin to uncover the impossible truth of the connecting murders committed over sixty years.

The question becomes: will it be Harper or Kirby that reaches the answer to their problem first?

My Thoughts:

This genre-bending novel definitely kept my attention by putting a twist on both the serial killer and time-traveling genres. By combining elements of a horrifying crime thriller with a historical fiction and a sci-fi story, this novel stand on its own in originality.

My views on time-travel have forever changed because of this story. No longer is time travel some romantic notion in my mind. When the ability is given to the wrong person, it suddenly becomes a terrifying prospect.

The more actioned-packed thriller parts of the story worked extremely well. I had to continually look up from the book during those parts to remind myself that I, thankfully, was not in the story. Specifically, the final scenes where Harper and Kirby meet up again do not disappoint. It read like the climactic end scene in Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs. My heart was pounding with fear and adrenaline, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages.

There were parts of the story, however, that were hard to follow, particularly in regard to Harper’s bloodthirsty house. The house had a voice of its own, egging on Harper to commit the murders. Since the details surrounding this house weren’t explained, it kind of just made Harper seem insane or schizophrenic.

I understood the need for a certain mystery to surround the house for the bulk of the story, but I expected to understand more by the end. These two big questions—why did the house allow for time travel when connected to murder? and why did these particular girls shine?—were never answered. It left me feeling disappointed in the bloodthirsty house, for I didn’t get the closure and answers I wanted.

The mashing together of these genres produced an interested read. I really wanted to give this book five stars, as the premise is so intriguing, but those unanswered questions and confusions surrounding the bloodthirsty house made me end up giving it 4 stars.

But you should definitely still check out this book, especially if you enjoy either thrillers, mysteries, or time traveling stories. Be ready for an engaging ride!

Review quote

"A triumph ... [T]he smart and spunky Kirby Mizrachi is as exciting to follow as any in recent genre fiction ... [E]ach chapter in which [Harper] appears holds a reader's attention, especially the sharply described murder scenes - some of which read as much like starkly rendered battlefield deaths out of Homer as forensic reconstructions of terrible crimes ... This book means business." --NPR.org