The Shining Girls By Lauren Beukes

December 14, 2014
The Shining Girls By Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Also by this author: Broken Monsters
Published by Mulholland Books on 2013-06-04
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Detective, Science Fiction, Thrillers
Pages: 384
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

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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.

When I first read the blurb above, I have to admit, this book sounded amazing. Then I read Broken Monsters and couldn’t help but wonder why I hadn’t read Beukes before then. Now that I’ve read The Shining Girls, I am just wondering when her next book comes out, and trying to make sure I find time to read Zoo City. After reading just two of her books, Beukes has found her way on to my “must read” list. For any fans of Joe Hill out there (another author firmly on my “must read” list), I strongly encourage you to read Beukes as I feel their fan bases should have a good deal of overlap.

The plot and characters are so well done. Once again, we the POV of the bad guy. I know not everyone enjoys this, but I absolutely love it. This is not a mystery of “whodunnit” for the reader, but rather how and if the other characters will be able to piece together what is happening. Harper is a serial killer that has the convenience of time travel to both stalk his victims and also to escape without a trace once he has finished his gruesome kills. And yes, this book can be dark, but so fascinating and thrilling.

Kirby is our main Shining Girl POV. She is the one who got away, somehow surviving Harper’s attack. And she is the one determined to hunt him down and solve this mystery. I love Kirby. She has a great personality and a very strong drive to get things done. She manages to get an internship at a paper with the reporter that covered her story (Dan). Dan no longer works homicide stories, instead they are supposed to be covering sports. But that doesn’t stop Kirby from doing what she can to piece together homicides she believes are connected to not just each other, but also to her attack.

In addition to the three primary POVs, we also get the POV of several Shining Girls, the girls that Harper targets through out time. Honestly, I enjoyed all of them. Books that have many POVs can sometimes go wrong if those extra POVs fall short, if too many of the characters seem similar or weak. But in this, I just enjoyed them all. I also enjoyed the different time periods and how that impacted the settings and politics involved in the story.

What really makes this story work is the characters and the tone. As much as I love the idea of a time traveling serial killer POV, it is something that could go horribly wrong if not done well. Beukes writing is strong, the atmosphere, the tension and suspense, the vividness of the setting are all complimented with complex and believable characters. Highly recommend this one.